Collective spectator communications such as oral presentations, movies, and storytelling performances are ubiquitous in human culture. This study investigated the effects of past viewing experiences and differences in expressive performance on an audience's transportive experience into a created world of a storytelling performance. In the experiment, 60 participants (mean age = 34.12 yrs., SD = 13.18 yrs., range 18-63 yrs.) were assigned to watch one of two videotaped performances that were played (1) in an orthodox way for frequent viewers and (2) in a modified way aimed at easier comprehension for first-time viewers. Eyeblink synchronization among participants was quantified by employing distance-based measurements of spike trains, Dspike and Dinterval (Victor & Purpura, 1997). The results indicated that even non-familiar participants' eyeblinks were synchronized as the story progressed and that the effect of the viewing experience on transportation was weak. Rather, the results of a multiple regression analysis demonstrated that the degrees of transportation could be predicted by a retrospectively reported humor experience and higher real-time variability (i.e., logarithmic transformed standard deviation) of inter blink intervals during a performance viewing. The results are discussed from the viewpoint in which the extent of eyeblink synchronization and eyeblink-rate variability acts as an index of the inner experience of audience members.
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