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Oct 3rd 2016

How to Read a Mind: an Introduction to Understanding Literary Characters (FutureLearn)

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How do we read and model fictional minds? Introducing cognitive poetics: the application of cognitive science to literary reading.

This free online course offers an introduction to the field known as cognitive poetics – applying cognitive science (the study of the mind and its processes) to how we read literature.


Understand cognitive poetics: what happens in our minds when we read

Taking our best current knowledge of how our minds and language work, we will ask some key questions about reading literature:

Taking our best current knowledge of how our minds and language work, we will ask some key questions about reading literature:

- Why do we feel anything for fictional characters?

- Why do we get angry, moved, irritated, annoyed or sentimental about imaginary people in imaginary worlds?

- And why do the lives of fictional characters matter so much to readers?

The answers to these questions are surprising and empowering, and as we explore each, we will introduce you to some key concepts from psychology, linguistics and philosophy.




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