By Paul B. Armstrong
The mind and aesthetic adventure --
How the mind learns to learn and the play of concord and dissonance --
The neuroscience of the hermeneutic circle --
The temporality of studying and the de-centered mind --
The social mind and the anomaly of the modify ego --
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Extra resources for How literature plays with the brain : the neuroscience of reading and art
Although the VWFA is a crucial cortical node for word recognition, reading is not conﬁned to one location in the brain; rather, it brings into relation a complex assembly of visual and auditory processes that translate letters into sounds and sounds into letters and associate signs with meaning. ” Similarly, they observe, “several quite distinct areas of the brain . . ”13 The complications of reading are for this reason a useful indicator of the dynamics of brain functioning—its “bushy” structure of overlapping, criss-crossing, back-and-forth parallel processes.
It is sometimes thought that art announces its presence by provoking an aesthetic emotion in the perceiver. The most inﬂuential modern articulation of this view was provided by Virginia Woolf’s brother-in-law Clive Bell, who claimed that “there is a peculiar emotion provoked by works of art” in response to what he famously called “signiﬁcant form,” an aesthetic emotion that “transports us from the world of man’s activity to a world of aesthetic exaltation. ”36 The emotions produced by aesthetic experiences are more wide-ranging and various than this rather sterile formulation suggests, however.
Despite the popularity of interdisciplinary research, the silos in which universities are structured discourage scientists and humanists from interacting. There are also genuine, nontrivial disciplinary obstacles to mounting and sustaining meaningful dialogue. It is hard, after all, to master enough of the language of either neuroscience or literary theory to engage in meaningful acts of translation. These obstacles are all the more reason to be clear about the common ground on which such conversations might take place.
How literature plays with the brain : the neuroscience of reading and art by Paul B. Armstrong