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Memory, Mystery and Coherence: Does the Presence of 2‐3 Counterintuitive Concepts Predict Cultural Success of a Narrative?

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This article reports an investigation involving a series of studies carried out to critically examine the hypothesis that presence of 2 or 3 minimally counterintuitive concepts in a story makes it more memorable than stories containing fewer or more of such concepts. The results paint a more complicated picture involving a number of interacting factors with contribution of the counterintuitive concepts to the global story cohesion emerging as a key mediating factor. It was found that addition of counterintuitive concepts only makes stories more memorable if those concepts contribute to the global cohesion of the overall story.

Affiliations: 1: Influence and Effects Research Group, Adversarial Intent Section, Defence Research Development Canada (DRDC)-Toronto 1133 Sheppard Avenue W., Toronto, ON, Canada M3M 3B9


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