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Riveted, a book from cognitive science professor Jim Davies, presents a unified theory of compellingness.
What makes for compelling art? Any creator who has given half a thought to paying the rent, or achieving immortality, has considered what makes art sell. We know that the notion of quality—the idea that “the best” art and marketing and media reaches the most people—is insufficient to explain what gives some creations mass appeal. So why do people—large number of people—find books, ads, movies and art works compelling? How can we know, ahead of time, what will pique our curiosity and sustain our interest?Jim Davies, an associate professor at Carleton University’s Institute of Cognitive Science and director of the Science of Imagination Laboratory wanted to find out. The result is a theory of compellingness, outlined in his book Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One with the Universe.
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Riveted, a book from cognitive science professor Jim Davies, presents a unified theory of compellingness.

What makes for compelling art? Any creator who has given half a thought to paying the rent, or achieving immortality, has considered what makes art sell. We know that the notion of quality—the idea that “the best” art and marketing and media reaches the most people—is insufficient to explain what gives some creations mass appeal. So why do people—large number of people—find books, ads, movies and art works compelling? How can we know, ahead of time, what will pique our curiosity and sustain our interest?Jim Davies, an associate professor at Carleton University’s Institute of Cognitive Science and director of the Science of Imagination Laboratory wanted to find out. The result is a theory of compellingness, outlined in his book Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One with the Universe.

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Meet the creators of the Meaningful Content Fund, who would like you to click on this important story, not that cat video.

What is the meaning of the Internet? Is it a moving narrative about a boy whose brain could unlock the mystery of autism, or is it a gif of a litter of kittens riding a Roomba, falling off one by one?

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Most Internet users—from casual browsers to hardcore Redditors—like to think they are above clickbait, yet inevitably we are all lured into posts like “35 White-Girl Mysteries That Desperately Need To Be Solved.” It’s a Sisyphean fight to rise about mindless listicles and misleading stories that overpromise and underdeliver, but one renegade group has been leading an underground charge to right the Internet’s wrongs. Okay, so it’s more like a confab of white-collared execs in the publishing and tech industries who email each other a few times a week—not exactly Internet vigilantes—but can they help create a more meaningful Internet?

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The key thing about good content is that it requires that you think about it first and foremost from the point of view of the consumer and what they want to hear, rather than from the point of view of the brand and what it wants to say. That is a major shift in perspective for many marketers and one that some aren’t capable of making. It often requires talking about your category or the subject you’re expert in rather than the characteristics of your company or brand.

Jonah Bloom, executive director of content strategy, KBS+ Content Labs, from today’s Co.Create virtual panel.