Do you remember that one scene where..?

Do you remember that one scene where..?

Have you ever talked to friends about your favorite movie and noticed that you have very different memories of certain scenes? How is it possible that people remember the same things quite differently? 

Experts say narrative processing plays an essential role in the way we for memories. Narrative processing helps us chunk a stream of information into events and thereby provides us with a temporal structure. We tend to recall information better when it is presented in a narrative. A narrative can have a linear structure, so events follow a chronological timeline, or a nonlinear one. Movies with flashbacks or flash-forwards, where you have to pay close attention to have a clue what is going on, are examples of nonlinear narrative style. 

But how do we know what scene happened first or that one character was introduced before the other? The answer is temporal memory, so our memory for how we remember events in time, helps us structure our experiences. Studies have shown that narrative types differently influence temporal memory. 

With our present study we want to find out more about the impact of nonlinear narratives on memory and our understanding of narratives. By presenting participants with one nonlinear and one linear movie and asking questions about the timing of frames from each movie, we hope to get a better understanding of the way we remember information presented in narratives. You have been wondering how it can be that you know so many scenes from the Harry Potter movies by heart and do not confuse them across movies? With our study we aim to bring you closer to an answer, so stay tuned to find out more.

Research Practical Group 39

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