Tel Aviv University (ISRAEL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 4422-4423
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
Optional thinking deficiency relates to the inability to assess or generate optional reasons, solutions and consequences to problems due to "close mindedness". This mental state, related to low "cognitive complexity" results from "cognitive freezing" upon certain ideas, beliefs or stereotypes. This deficiency impedes productive cognitive, perceptual and affective responses to different life problems and is reflected particularly in groups of youth in situations of risk and distress. In this program we aim to develop optional thinking and de-freeze stereotypes among youth at risk. We suggest developing optional thinking via a branching narrative interactive movie workshop (BNIMW) based upon constructivist narrative therapy (CNT).

Narrative movie workshops engage participants. However, the claim that these help develop social skills is based on vague impressions. We suggest gearing movie workshops to the production of a branching narrative interactive movie because this encourages optional thinking in the construction of the optional branching narrative and interactions, a process that fits the principles of constructivist narrative therapy.

Narratives consist of arranging life experiences through dynamic schemas into a causal trajectory with a beginning middle and end, figuring originating events, human decisions, their complications and consequences. CNT helps individuals overcome their problems by asking them to narrate their life experiences, thus "externalizing" their problems, and then offers to "re-story" these life experiences by identifying the cognitively freezed premises and resulting reasoning of the problem, and the bringing forth of underrated experiences, memories or other relevant peoples' views to forge optional viable narratives that may help to solve or dissolve the problem. Re-storying implies optional thinking training and cognitive de-freezing because it enhances taking others' perspectives and their coordination. BNIMW based on CNT are effective for developing optional thinking since the audiovisual rendering of branching alternative narratives offers an engaging and life-like problem "externalization" and "re-storying", coupled with a sense of choice implied in interaction. .

We have adapted these CNT strategies to different stages of production of BNIMW such as: scriptwriting, production, directing, acting, shooting and interactive editing. The workshop outcome will be a short interactive branching narrative movie scripted and produced by the youth. We will dtail some of these strategies.

Interaction in BNIMW is guided by dramatic considerations such as dissuading interaction due to suspense, encourging interaction in dramatic choice crossroads by raising the viewer's dramatic desire to intervene, an intervention guided by "what if" considerations. Furthermore, the movie produced does not have a menu except for a glow around an object in the image to allow interaction, and the movie never stops its flow so that whether interaction occurs or not, the movie shifts seamlessly towards the chosen or the default path.

A unique player and editor developed for the production of such branching narrative interactive movies will be exhibited with some examples from a movie.
Optional Thinking, Branching Narrative Interactive Movie Workshop, Constructive Narrative Therapy, Youth at Risk.