Interpretation as play: a cognitive psychological model of inference and situation model construction

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Interpretation of narrative can itself be considered a form of play that is psychologically engaging and effortful. Previous work has provided initial considerations of the cognitive psychology of narrative interpretation, particularly of how players derive pleasure from understanding a story. This paper elaborates on the specific processes involved in the comprehension of narrative, providing a review of discourse comprehension theories that culminates in a synthesized model of inference and situation model construction. The applicability of this psychological model to players of digital games is considered through comparison to players’ descriptions of experience of playing Gone Home. Prevalent themes reflect the relevance-determination of inference and demonstrate the activation of long-term memory in recall of expectations from personal experiences, games, and other media. Future work in this area will focus on the operationalisation of this psychological understanding in practice in game design and storytelling.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInteractive Storytelling
Subtitle of host publication16th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, ICIDS 2023, Kobe, Japan, November 11–15, 2023, Proceedings, Part I
EditorsLissa Holloway-Attaway, John T. Murray
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783031476556
ISBN (Print)9783031476549
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2023
Event16th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling: ICIDS 2023 - Kobe, Japan
Duration: 11 Nov 202315 Nov 2023

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
PublisherSpringer Nature
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference16th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling


  • storytelling
  • digital games
  • psychology

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