Neural correlates of narrative structure during naturalistic audiovisual film using functional magnetic resonance imaging

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Haines, Christina
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Neuroscience
A narrative is defined as a description of interconnected events, whereby forming narratives requires sustained attention and simultaneous integration of information to navigate and track events and assign them along an immersive timeline (Martinez-Conde et al., 2019). Narratives, in the form of film, plays, and television, offer a unique opportunity to assess brain functions in situations more akin to the “real-world”. However, most neuroimaging studies examining narrative formation have used static stimuli (e.g., still images, disconnected sentences, or incoherent narratives) that do not encapsulate the complexity of narrative formation in the everyday life. It is currently unknown how the brain processes “real-world” information into coherent narrative events. The current research uses data from the Naturalistic Neuroimaging Database (Aliko et al., 2020) to examine the neural correlates of narrative processing using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In four experiments, we assessed neural synchrony patterns implicated in long-term narrative processing and identified networks associated with distinct phases of narrative processing and conveyed the dynamic changes of cognitive demands as a narrative evolves. Results from this study emphasize the evolving cognitive demands intrinsic to narrative structure, reflecting dynamic changes in neural synchrony. These findings extend beyond research advancement, by bridging the gap between cognitive neuroscience and “real-world” narrative processing.
Narrative formation , Narrative processing , Neuroimaging , Real world information , Functional magnetic resonance imaging