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Charles River Analytics to Support DARPA in Researching the Effects of Narratives on Human Behavior

Charles River Analytics, a developer of intelligent systems solutions, received a contract to support the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Narrative Networks (N2) program. Charles River will lead a team of top experts in psychology, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, narrative science, and behavioral modeling to research and model the effects that narratives have on human behavior. The effort brings together researchers and developers from Charles River Analytics; Georgia Institute of Technology, including its applied research arm, Georgia Tech Research Institute; Stony Brook University; NeuroFocus; Claremont Graduate University; KnightVision Marketing; International Advisory Services; and George Mason University. The contract value is close to $7 million, extending over three years, including options.

Dr. Victoria Romero, Senior Scientist at Charles River, said, “The results of this ambitious research program may be applied to developing tools to understand and analyze audience responses to adversary narratives.”

Understanding these effects may be especially important for national security; for instance, it could help to understand how adversaries shape violent social or political movements or gain local support for insurgencies.

As part of its role in N2, Charles River will develop SONNET, or Studies to Operationalize Neuro-Narratology for Effective Tools. Charles River will conduct neurological studies to understand what makes a story compelling, and develop tools to sense and forecast people’s reactions.

Dr. Jonathan Pfautz, Vice President, Cognitive Systems, said, “We’re excited about this effort, not only because it pulls together such a diverse group of scientists, but it also affords the opportunity to integrate the research results of some of the leading experts in the fields of neuroscience and narrative. SONNET also builds upon Charles River’s long-term investment in human behavior modeling research and development.”

Distribution Statement “A” (Approved for Public Release, Distribution Unlimited)

This material is based upon work supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) under Contract No. D12PC00397. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA); or its Contracting Agent, the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Business Center, Acquisition Services Directorate, Sierra Vista Division.

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