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Displaying results 1 to 5 of 5.

  1. Objects of "empathy" : characters (and other such things) as psycho-poetic effects
    Published: 26.03.2013

    In folk theories of art reception, readers and cinema audiences are said to experience fictional worlds vicariously 'through' characters, i.e. they 'identify' themselves with them, they partake in their experiences 'empathetically'. In the first... more

     

    In folk theories of art reception, readers and cinema audiences are said to experience fictional worlds vicariously 'through' characters, i.e. they 'identify' themselves with them, they partake in their experiences 'empathetically'. In the first section of my essay, I will argue that it is not character but focalization (point of view) which, on a fundamental level, guides our fictional experience, and I will exemplify several ways that characters (or similar ideas) can then in addition come into play. In the next two sections, I will discuss possible cognitive correlates of both the textual device of focalization and textual clues indicating ›persons‹. The aim is to show that what I call ›psycho-poetic effects‹ (that is, the mental representation of anthropomorphic instances) are best described as byproducts of various cognitive programs involved in the reception of narrative fiction. 'Empathy', as it is understood in the above mentioned folk theory of art reception, can then be analysed into individual algorithms of social cognition. And it can be differentiated, as is done in the last section, from other phenomena often confused with it, like emotional experience proper and emotional contagion. Also, I refer to the idea that mirror neurons provide the means to empathize with others, literary characters included. My general proposition is to revise and refine those concepts with the help of evolutionary theory and, thus, to hypothesize as cognitive correlates for textual features only programs specific enough to be correlated with a specific adaptive function which they may have performed in the process of human evolution.

     

    Content notes: free
    Source: CompaRe
    Language: English
    Media type: Part of a book
    Format: Online
    ISBN: 978-3-11-023241-7
    DDC Categories: 800; 801
    Rights: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen
  2. Voice and Perception : An evolutionary approach to the basic functions of narrative
    Published: 09.09.2015

    Whereas in traditional models of literary narrative we had to deal with typologies mainly (for instance, of "narrative situations"; see Stanzel 1971, 1984; Fludernik and Margolin 2004; Genette 1980), we now possess a systematic description of the... more

     

    Whereas in traditional models of literary narrative we had to deal with typologies mainly (for instance, of "narrative situations"; see Stanzel 1971, 1984; Fludernik and Margolin 2004; Genette 1980), we now possess a systematic description of the imagination evoked by a text, which takes into account the quasi-ontological (see Bortolussi and Dixon 2003) status of its constituents. In this chapter I search for the cognitive functions that correlate with the text features of "voice" and "perception" and for how they bring about such a "layered" imagination in the reader. The aim is to explain how and why literary narratives can run properly in the human mind-which is another way of asking how humans could develop narrative discourse as a way of communication at all.

     

    Content notes: free
    Source: CompaRe
    Language: English
    Media type: Part of a book
    Format: Online
    ISBN: 978-0-292-72888-2
    DDC Categories: 800
    Rights: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen
  3. Evolutionary psychology as a heuristic in literary studies
    Published: 09.09.2015

    There has been a great deal of uproar about Darwinian approaches in literary scholarship. Statements range from enthusiastic prophecies of a new paradigm for literary studies to acrimonious scoldings of reductionism. Believing that the major... more

     

    There has been a great deal of uproar about Darwinian approaches in literary scholarship. Statements range from enthusiastic prophecies of a new paradigm for literary studies to acrimonious scoldings of reductionism. Believing that the major challenge is first to find good questions to which evolutionary psychology might provide us with good answers, I outline and critically assess different veins of argumentation as revealed in recent contributions to the field. As an alternative to some simplistic mimeticism in present Literary Darwinism, I put forward the idea of evolutionary psychology as a heuristic theory that serves to resolve defined problems in interpretation and literary theory.

     

    Content notes: free
    Source: CompaRe
    Language: English
    Media type: Part of a book
    Format: Online
    ISBN: 978-90-420-3397-9
    DDC Categories: 800
    Rights: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen
  4. Is storytelling a biological adaptation? : Preliminary thoughts on how to pose that question
    Published: 10.09.2015

    Verbal storytelling – in a sense broad enough to include all forms from casual conversation across oral folklore to written literature – seems to be a universal human activity and has thus been considered an evolutionary adaptation several times in... more

     

    Verbal storytelling – in a sense broad enough to include all forms from casual conversation across oral folklore to written literature – seems to be a universal human activity and has thus been considered an evolutionary adaptation several times in the past few years. The fact that a particular trait is a species-wide universal, however, does not automatically make it an adaptation; it could also be a contingent universal, that is, a cultural behavior which notably relies on biological substrates and therefore emerges in similar fashions in all human cultures, times, and milieus. Yet verbal storytelling is not only universal but also distinct to our species. The uniqueness of a trait can indeed be indicative of a biological adaptation1 in that we have reason to assume that this trait emerged newly in the given animal lineage and thus might owe its existence to the process of natural selection. However, since verbal storytelling completely depends on language, that is, another uniquely human faculty, the uniqueness of storytelling is hardly surprising and cannot serve as a conclusive argument for considering storytelling itself to be a specifically selected trait. Storytelling could simply be a particular use of language (though we shall see below that the relationship between language and narration is a little more complicated). A third possible indication of a biological adaptation, however, is the fact that storytelling seems to be a notably self-rewarding activity. It occurs on a much larger scale than would seem justified by rational choice or other reasons. As fitness-enhancing behaviors should, as a rule, be intrinsically motivated under certain conditions, the unusually high frequency of storytelling might indeed be revealing of an innate preference for this behavior.

     

    Content notes: free
    Source: CompaRe
    Language: English
    Media type: Part of a book
    Format: Online
    ISBN: 978-3-11-026859-1
    DDC Categories: 800
    Rights: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen
  5. On the emergence of aesthetic illusion : an evolutionary perspective

    This contribution outlines the evolutionary history of aesthetic illusion, drawing on both its biological and its cultural evolution. Unlike other 'biocultural' accounts of human behaviour, however, the present considerations strictly distinguish... more

     

    This contribution outlines the evolutionary history of aesthetic illusion, drawing on both its biological and its cultural evolution. Unlike other 'biocultural' accounts of human behaviour, however, the present considerations strictly distinguish between these two processes by resorting to the system-theoretical reformulation of evolutionary theory as offered by Niklas Luhmann. After introducing the theoretical framework, two core elements of aesthetic illusion are described as biological predispositions: the ability to become 'illuded' (as deriving from a biological adaptation for play behaviour in mammals) and the ability to take an interpretive, quasi-communicative attitude toward artifacts (which might be a by-product of the human capacity for symbolic cognition). Particular emphasis is given to the competency for cognitive metarepresentation which emerged together with play and other capacities in fundamentally intelligent animals, and which, in combination with the evolution of language in the human species, has developed into a complex cognitive apparatus called 'scope syntax' by Leda Cosmides and John Tooby. In the last part of the present article several cultural processes are pointed out which have influenced the cultural concepts that, as a cognitive 'scope' tag, guide the experience of aesthetic illusion, the most important among them being the idea of autonomous art as brought about in Western modernity.

     

    Content notes: free
    Source: CompaRe
    Language: English
    Media type: Part of a book
    Format: Online
    ISBN: 978-146-193-618-3
    DDC Categories: 800
    Rights: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen