How It Works

When we read, watch, or experience a story of some kind, we're typically focused on its content — that is, what the story is about. Behind the scenes, however, a story is built on top of some kind of structure: the introduction of new story elements ("staging"), the characters' behaviors and interactions ("plot progression"), and the building and release of conflict ("cognitive tension"). For the first time in history, we are able to actually see and measure this deeper story structure of a text using scientific and computational methods, helping us to understand not just what a story is about, but how stories are told.

For the real nitty-gritty details about our research, check out our publicly available, open-access paper at Science Advances, as well as the supplementary materials. For additional details, bits of data, and so forth, please refer to our OSF repository, located here.