Asking hypothetical questions about stories using QUEST

Rachelyn Farrell, Scott Robertson, Stephen G. Ware

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Many computational models of narrative include representations of possible worlds—events that never actually occur in the story but that are planned or perceived by the story’s characters. Psychological tools such as QUEST are often used to validate computational models of narrative, but they only represent events which are explicitly narrated in the story. In this paper, we demonstrate that audiences can and do reason about other possible worlds when experiencing a narrative, and that the QKSs for each possible world can be treated as a single data structure. Participants read a short text story and were asked hypothetical questions that prompted them to consider alternative endings. When asked about events that needed to change as a result of the hypothetical, they produced answers that were consistent with answers generated by QUEST from a different version of the story. When asked about unrelated events, their answers matched those generated by QUEST from the version of the story they read.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInteractive Storytelling - 9th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, ICIDS 2016
EditorsAndrew S. Gordon, Frank Nack
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2016
Event9th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, ICIDS 2016 - Los Angeles, United States
Duration: Nov 15 2016Nov 18 2016

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume10045 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference9th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, ICIDS 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLos Angeles

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing AG 2016.


  • Hypothetical reasoning
  • Planning
  • Possible worlds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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