Pint Of Science preview – The “magic” of money: Welcome to the story of finance

Pint Of Science is back and only 2 weeks away!

Mendeley is extremely excited to be partnering with Pint of Science for the second year running! This year, we are sponsoring “Atoms to Galaxies” events across the UK. Last year was a massive success, and we feel passionate about the Pint of Science mission to bring research to the public, and give a chance for academics to present their work. We hope to help grow the event so more people can hear about the vast and amazing research happening in our galaxy — and beyond.

And also we’re pleased to announce Mendeley API & Mendeley Data are co-sponsoring “Tech Me Out” events across the UK!

As an introduction to the great talks on offer we’re going to be previewing some of the most interesting here on the Mendeley Blog.

First up Dr Tom van Laer (@tvanlaer), Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Sir John Cass Business School is showcasing his talk “The “magic” of money: Welcome to the story of finance” at the Castle, EC1 London on Tuesday 24th May.

uIaM19Q_.jpgA fancy term for persuasion by stories is narrative persuasion. The phenomenon of transportation, or mentally entering a narrative, plays a crucial role in narrative persuasion.

Here’s why: People find stories entertaining for two reasons. First, they imagine the events the main character experiences. Second, they feel for the character. In 1993, professor Richard Gerrig of Yale University published research in which he observed that people who find reading novels entertaining are changed by their reading experience, after they finish reading, such that readers who become engrossed in the story tend to accept the story as true, as well as the beliefs and behaviours that the characters exhibit as good. If people do not lose themselves in the story (meaning they are not transported), they respond negatively to the story or the characters and dismiss the narrative as nonsense.

To exert such effects, transportation first requires that people process stories. These stories can be conveyed by various media, including novels and movies, such as Harry Potter, soap operas, and social media. Second, people get transported through two main components: empathy for the main character and imagery of the events. Empathy implies for instance that people develop positive feelings toward Harry experience a connection with Harry’s values and fate. Imagery means for instance that people generate vivid images of the battle between Voldemort and Harry, such that they feel as though they are experiencing the battle themselves. Third, when transported, people lose track of reality in a physiological sense. The effect of transportation is narrative persuasion.

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After the global financial crisis set in, many people posted stories about how their bankers did not pay enough attention to them. In such a story, the customer is the main character and the banker is the bad guy. Naturally, bankers are not easily transported into such a story. Instead, their first reaction is to dispute the story and claim to indeed be oriented towards the client. I wondered whether it might be possible to help bankers become transported by focusing their attention in the story on the customer interest. You can redirect people’s focus by priming them with words. I took a dozen words, including compassion, compassion, moved, soft-hearted, sympathy, tender, and warm, and asked a group of bankers of a large financial institution to find these words in a word search puzzle. Next, the bankers were presented with a story about a negative experience of a bank client, along with the question of who was at fault. While bankers without the word search puzzle laid the blame and responsibility above all with the client, after the word search puzzle, bankers tended to see themselves as more at fault. So you can transport people in a relatively simple manner. From my research, it appears that although bankers are the bad guys in many stories, you can even transport them.

Tickets for Pint Of Science talks can be purchased through their official website.