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Germanic Studies, Cognitive Science, and Comparative Literature
Indiana University – Bloomington
The Narrative Brain
Through narratives we are able to reexperience past episodes and we are able to transform individual experience into shared experience. To achieve this, our minds and the ways in which we tell stories must be attuned to each other. But how exactly does this happen? The goal of the talk is to present the outlines of a model of narrative thinking that combines three aspects of narrative processing, namely the thinking in small episodes, multiversional processing, and narrative emotions. We will move from the Grimm Brothers to data from serial-reproduction studies (aka the telephone game) and ChatGPT to distill elements of the narrative mind.
Bio: Fritz Breithaupt is Provost Professor at Indiana University Bloomington in Cognitive Science and Germanic Studies. His research focusses on narrative thinking, empathy, emotions, and literary fiction. His latest book The Narrative Brain is the official Science Book of 2023 (selected by the Ministry of Research, Science, and Education in Austria), and is forthcoming at Yale UP. Among Fritz’ recent publications is also his book The Dark Sides of Empathy (Cornell UP, 2019). Fritz is the director of the Experimental Humanities Lab and DGS in Cognitive Science.
A pizza lunch will be served. Please bring your own beverage.