How the reader’s body meets the reader’s consciousness: four basic types of narrative mental imagery
2013 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
Although readers' reports of their lifetime experience with narrative prose reading abound in recollections of mental images, narrative imagery experiences (NIEs) are rarely examined in their own right. Moreover, there is relatively little potential for comprehensive theory building in the extant body of research concerning readers' mental imagery. For instance, theoretical inquiries into the mechanics of mental imaging are often inconclusive as to their claims on the matter of consciousness. Empirical studies of reader response, when expressly focusing on the conscious experience of mental imagery, typically ask readers to check a generic questionnaire item (e.g., “The text calls up an image in my mind.”) but do not solicit further description. Finally, assumptions vary widely across approaches and scholarly traditions regarding the relationship of mental imagery to other dimensions of readerly experience, such as medium awareness or higher-order meaning-making (interpretation). In response to the above, my talk will survey current experimental findings in the field of embodied cognition in order to offer a tentative typology of the basic NIEs, grounded in a circumscribed set of parameters. Roughly speaking, I will argue that NIEs can be either referential (story-based) or verbal (discourse-based). I will further argue that within these two categories, they can be experienced from two different bodily perspectives: an inner (first-person) perspective and an outer (third-person) perspective. This will allow me to isolate four NIE prototypes, each with a specific combination of properties relative to medium awareness and higher-order meaning-making. I will call these NIEs 1. Experience-imagery (referential & inner), 2. Description-imagery (referential & outer), 3. Speech-imagery (verbal & outer) and 4. Rehearsal-imagery (verbal & inner). I will conclude with a note on the applicability of my NIE typology on metaphor and other poetic imagery experiences (PIEs).
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Languages and Literature
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-123159OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-123159DiVA: diva2:871998
Researching the Reading Experience, June 10-12, 2013, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences