I am delighted to announce a new lab initiative that is building a citizen science platform to annotate stories. We’re calling it Citizen Readers and the aim of the platform is to invite readers from around the world to help us better understand storytelling.
While a variety of corporate-driven initiatives have been popping up in recent months, ours is the first of its kind to harness the power of citizen science to focus on story understanding for the sake of knowledge. As the great Salman Rushdie once said, “The books and stories we fall in love with make us who we are.” Stories are extremely powerful tools for motivating human behaviour (yes for the good and the bad).
The aim of our project is to inspire passionate readers to help us annotate aspects of stories so we can model narrative communication with greater sophistication. There is a growing wave of research using scientific methods to study stories. Citizen Science has a key role to play in that process. Readers can help us create better models that reflect the beliefs of different communities for more representative and accountable science. When we do so we can begin to study how and when stories play a pivotal role in the world, whether it is to bolster mental health, motivate political choices or economic behaviour, or to inspire readers to think more deeply about their worlds.
The biggest challenge to any citizen science initiative is participation. So please help us spread the word.
Come read with us!!