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3/21/2017

A Lecture on Narrative Psychology

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A Lecture on Narra ve Psychology

I was going through some old back‐ups of my computer from many years ago and came across this lecture I had prepared for a mee ng of psychiatrists involved in the psychological aspects of art and therapy some me in the late 1990s.

Alas, a er being invited to speak, I met with one of the principals involved (a Freudian psychiatrist) and he was so appalled by the “radical” concepts I was proposing that he canceled my appearance, rather than subject the members of his group to these dangerous and subversive concepts.

Hey, I thought I’d toned it down. Go figger….

Though many of the no ons I had included have since been significantly expanded and refined, they have also remained as valid as they were at the me. So, I thought perhaps it would be edifying to publish the text of that undelivered lecture. So, here’s the transcript of what I would have said, given the chance….

Narra ve Psychology

3/21/2017 A Lecture on Narrative Psychology Follow Us Writing Tools <a href=Write Your Novel or Screenplay Step by Step! $29.95 Predicts Your Story’s Perfect Structure! A Lecture on Narra ve Psychology By Melanie Anne Phillips I was going through some old back‐ups of my computer from many years ago and came across this lecture I had prepared for a mee ng of psychiatrists involved in the psychological aspects of art and therapy some me in the late 1990s. Alas, a er being invited to speak, I met with one of the principals involved (a Freudian psychiatrist) and he was so appalled by the “radical” concepts I was proposing that he canceled my appearance, rather than subject the members of his group to these dangerous and subversive concepts. Hey, I thought I’d toned it down. Go figger…. Though many of the no ons I had included have since been significantly expanded and refined, they have also remained as valid as they were at the me. So, I thought perhaps it would be edifying to publish the text of that undelivered lecture. So, here’s the transcript of what I would have said, given the chance…. Narra ve Psychology Free Resources Beginning Intermediate Advanced Story Structure Browse All Articles Newest Articles Write Your Novel Step by Step 50 Sure­Fire Storytelling Tricks! A Few Words About Theme http://storymind.com/page87.htm 1/3 " id="pdf-obj-0-63" src="pdf-obj-0-63.jpg">

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3/21/2017

A Lecture on Narrative Psychology

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By Melanie Anne Phillips Co‐creator, the Drama ca theory of story

Stories, especially those told in the media of film or television, can have a tremendous impact on an audience. Experiencing a story is similar in many ways to experiencing events in “real life”. Stories can make us laugh or cry, leave us feeling euphoric or depressed, lead us through a logis c considera on, or leave us in an emo onal state.

In this age of broadcast media, CD ROMS, and high‐tech mo on pictures, the average ci zen in our society may be exposed to almost as many narra ve experiences as life experiences. As a result, understanding the nature and mechanism by which stories affect audiences can lead to insights in media impact on an individual’s outlooks and a靀tudes.

From one perspec ve, we might iden fy four areas in which this impact manifests itself:

One, the emo onal mood an audience is le with at the conclusion of a story.

Two, the emo onal journey experienced by an audience during the unfolding of a story.

Three, understandings arrived at by the audience by the conclusion of a story.

Four, logis c considera ons made by the audience during the unfolding of the story.

Because these are so basic and important, let me take a moment to expand slightly on each of these concepts.

1. Emo onally, a story can change the mood of an audience from what it was at the beginning of a story to a completely different emo onal state by the me it is over. This might pertain to the way the audience feels about a par cular topic, or simply might change the underlying mood of the audience overall.

3/21/2017 A Lecture on Narrative Psychology <a href=$99.95 Banish Writer’s Block Forever! $19.95 Interactive Index Cards $19.95 By Melanie Anne Phillips Co‐creator, the Drama ca theory of story Stories, especially those told in the media of film or television, can have a tremendous impact on an audience. Experiencing a story is similar in many ways to experiencing events in “real life”. Stories can make us laugh or cry, leave us feeling euphoric or depressed, lead us through a logis c considera on, or leave us in an emo onal state. In this age of broadcast media, CD ROMS, and high‐tech mo on pictures, the average ci zen in our society may be exposed to almost as many narra ve experiences as life experiences. As a result, understanding the nature and mechanism by which stories affect audiences can lead to insights in media impact on an individual’s outlooks and a靀tudes. From one perspec ve, we might iden fy four areas in which this impact manifests itself: One, the emo onal mood an audience is le with at the conclusion of a story. Two, the emo onal journey experienced by an audience during the unfolding of a story. Three, understandings arrived at by the audience by the conclusion of a story. Four, logis c considera ons made by the audience during the unfolding of the story. Because these are so basic and important, let me take a moment to expand slightly on each of these concepts. 1. Emo onally, a story can change the mood of an audience from what it was at the beginning of a story to a completely different emo onal state by the me it is over. This might pertain to the way the audience feels about a par cular topic, or simply might change the underlying mood of the audience overall. Introduction to Story Structure 12 Hour Story Structure Course Secrets of Story Structure Story Structure Graphic Novel 400 Page Book on Structure Narrative Science Warning ­ Deep Theory! With the Master Storyteller Method http://storymind.com/page87.htm 2/3 " id="pdf-obj-1-111" src="pdf-obj-1-111.jpg">

3/21/2017

A Lecture on Narrative Psychology

For example, in a story such as “Remains of the Day”, an audience might be brought to a saddened and frustrated emo onal state that might linger well a er the story is over. This mood could even recur when some symbol or set of circumstances in everyday life triggers a conscious re‐considera on of the story or a subconscious response based on paᙀerns experienced in the story.

In addi on, an audience’s emo onal response toward a par cular topic, symbol, circumstance, or paᙀern may be altered through the story experience, leading to anything from changes in likes and dislikes to changes in a靀tudes, loyal es, or mo va ons in regard to a specific topic.

  • 2. In the process of experiencing a story, audience members may be carried from one

emo on to another in an order that might conform to or differ from their experiences in “real

life”. This can either reinforce or alter habitual paᙀerns of emo onal response, albeit in a small and perhaps temporary way. For example, if an audience member were to iden fy with a character, such as Agent Mulder in “The X‐Files”, he or she might (over me) become more likely to play hunches or, conversely, less likely to accept things at their face value.

  • 3. By the end of a story, the audience may be brought to an understanding it did not possess

prior to par cipa ng in the story process. For example, in “The Usual Suspects”, the big picture is not grasped by the audience un l the final pieces are dropped into place near the