INTERACTIVE DIGITAL NARRATIVE AND GROUP DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES: COMPARISON BETWEEN COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION METHODS
Supervisor: Luciano Gamberini
Co-supervisor: Alice Bettelli
Graduate student: Giacomo Villirillo
In recent years, interactive digital narratives (IDN) have been rediscovered thanks to widespread adoption of new digital platforms. The Covid-19 pandemic has further increased the usage of streaming and social television platforms, enabling users to watch IDN together remotely synchronously. While previous studies have primarily explored individual experiences with IDN, this study aimed to investigate how different communication modalities affect group dynamics and user experience during synchronous IDN viewing. We compared text, audio, and video-audio chats during a social TV experience featuring an interactive adventure episode. Participants watched the IDN in groups, aiming to keep the main character alive by making narrative choices at crucial crossroads. We collected data on group dynamics to understand user interactions and psychosocial effects.
Behavioral data assessed participants’ performance in achieving narrative goals, and self-report data provided insights into users’ opinions and preferences on the IDN experience and communication systems. Results indicated that overall participants enjoyed the experience. Audio chat and video-audio chat fostered greater interaction among users during the episode. Furthermore, the audio chat modality yielded the best outcomes regarding goal attainment. These findings highlight the importance of personalizing the experience by considering the different communication systems according to the media’s characteristics, informing the design of streaming services.