Stories Collectively Engage Listeners' Brains: Enhanced Intersubject Correlations during Reception of Personal Narratives

Clare Grall, Ron Tamborini, René Weber, Ralf Schmälzle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Audiences' engagement with mediated messages lies at the center of media effects research. However, the neurocognitive components underlying audience engagement remain unclear. A neuroimaging study was conducted to determine whether personal narratives engage the brains of audience members more than non-narrative messages and to investigate the brain regions that facilitate this effect. Intersubject correlations of brain activity during message exposure showed that listening to personal narratives elicited strong audience engagement as evidenced by robust correlations across participants' frontal and parietal lobes compared to a nonpersonal control text and a reversed language control stimulus. Thus, personal narratives were received and processed more consistently and reliably within specific brain regions. The findings contribute toward a biologically informed explanation for how personal narratives engage audiences to convey information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-355
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Communication
Volume71
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Engagement
  • fMRI
  • Intersubject Correlation
  • Media Neuroscience
  • Personal Narratives

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