A Cognitive-Based Model of Flashbacks for Computational Narratives


  • Hui-Yin Wu IRISA and INRIA Rennes Bretagne Atlantique
  • Michael Young University of Utah
  • Marc Christie IRISA and INRIA Rennes Bretagne Atlantique




interactive storytelling, cognitive model, flashback, memory, evaluation


The flashback is a well-known storytelling device used to invoke surprise, suspense, or fill in missing details in a story. Film literature provides a deeper and more complex grounding of flashbacks by explaining their role to stimulate the viewer's memory in order to guide and change viewer comprehension. Yet, in adapting flashback mechanisms to AI storytelling systems, existing approaches have not fully modelled the roles of a flashback event on the viewer's comprehension and memory. To expand the scope of AI generated stories, we propose a formal definition of flashbacks based on the identification of four different impacts on the viewer's beliefs. We then establish a cognitive model that can predict how viewers would perceive a flashback event. We finally design a user-evaluation to demonstrate that our model correctly predicts the effects of different flashbacks. This opens great opportunities for creating compelling and temporally complex interactive narratives grounded on cognitive models.




How to Cite

Wu, H.-Y., Young, M., & Christie, M. (2021). A Cognitive-Based Model of Flashbacks for Computational Narratives. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment, 12(1), 239-245. https://doi.org/10.1609/aiide.v12i1.12873