Carlos Allende

Instructor Biography:
PhD in Media Psychology with a concentration in audience engagement and a self-directed concentration in media neuroscience. He teaches psychology and researches the motivational effect of compassion in securing engagement as well as the paradoxically positive effect of stereotypical representation. His fiction incorporates history with social satire. Rare Bird Books published his novel Love, or the Witches of Windward Circle in 2015 and he was a panelist on modern horror at the LA Times Festival of Books in 2016.

Instructor Statement:
Some stories are like cake: delicious and impossible to resist, even if full of empty calories. Others are like raw broccoli, nutritious but not always enticing. Rather than studying what’s in the cake, so that we can improve the flavor of the broccoli, my course proposes a different approach: studying what’s in the humans, what makes them prefer the sweet over the nutritious.

My course will provide students with a practical background of the mental processes that guide attention and decision making as well as of the limits of cognition as it applies specifically to storytelling. To this purpose, my course takes a multidisciplinary approach, borrowing concepts from media psychology, communication studies, social psychology, and even seemingly unrelated disciplines such as cognitive neuroscience, behavioral economics, and ethology, the study of animal behavior. In essence, my course will not teach students how to write, but how to craft more engaging and more persuasive stories applying behavioral science.

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