Cognitive Science & Literature & Composition

Various links and a few resources associated with my research in the intersection of cognitive science, literature, and composition..

NEMLA 2001 Panel: The Role of Cognitive Science in Literary Studies
Teaching a cognitive science-inflected lit-comp
Cognitive Science: Defining an Interdiscipline
A cogsci lit-comp pedagogy bibliography
Draft Material from the cog-sci lit-comp textbook
This page belongs to James Luberda (firstname dot lastname of the University of Connecticut. Minimally updated September 16, 2006, under slow and irregular development.

Sample chapters and the preface to the cognitive science-inflected literature and composition textbook have now been posted. Please consider taking a look at the draft material thus far. Following is a brief outline of the material presently available:

1 Introduction: Language and Thought 2 On the Origin and Nature of Language
  • Thoughts on Paper: A Writing Perspective
  • Lingualism
  • The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
  • Linguistic Relativism: A Writing Perspective
  • Sapir-Whorf Today
  • Mentalese
  • Surveying the Gap
  • The Real Impact of Language on Thought
  • Writing: The Ill-Defined Problem
  • Solving an Ill-Defined Problem
  • "An Instinctive Tendency to Acquire an Art"
  • On Language Acquisition Devices and Connectionist Networks
  • Nature Versus Nurture, Revisited
  • Just How Different Are Different Languages?
  • Cognates and Language Change
  • Language Change: A Writing Perspective
  • Typing Monkeys and Dancing Bees: Non-Human Language

Click here to go to the index page for the text of the two chapters outlined above.
The Stanford (Electronic) Humanities Review is an on-line full text (and fully hyperlinked) version of the print journal of the same name. Of special interest are the issues on AI and the Humanities, and on cognitive science and literary criticism.
David Miall's Empirical Reader-Response Research provides access to some of the results of his team's empirical enquiry into how readers respond to literary texts, emphasizing the affective component of response.
Reuven Tsur's page, home of "The Cognitive Poetics Project." A figure anyone interested in cognitive science approaches to literature should become well acquainted with. A selection of papers is available on-line, as well as several relevant sound files.
John Constable's research "involves the use of literary objects, books, manuscripts, as data for those parts of psychology and cultural studies which operate within the framework of naturalistic physicalism" (from his site intro). He works with evolutionary psychology and relevance theory; he also studies verse form and poetic effect in the above-named context. Update: His site has moved (and the link now reflects this change)--one of his current research projects involves technical metrics, work that "produced the first mathematical distinction between verse and prose in English."
The University of Maryland's Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Program is also the home of Mark Turner. His page may be viewed directly, and his book Death is the Mother of Beauty: Mind, Metaphor, Criticism is available in full-text on-line.
The Prehistory of Cognitive Science is a gathering of resources concerning earlier theories of mind kindly provided by Carl Stahmer, UCSB, and a part of his ongoing dissertation project.
University of Connecticut's cognitive science page. My home at present. See Whit Tabor's page, as well as an article by Pat Hogan, English, at CogWeb. Pat Hogan is also a member of the executive committee for the MLA Discussion Group for Cognitive Approaches to Literature, as well as one of its founders.
David Chalmers' home page (U of Arizona) covering his inquiries into the philosophy of mind, AI, cognitive science, and other interesting materials. He provides a master index, as well, for quick review.
Dan Lloyd's home page (Trinity-Hartford), featuring select papers and research on philosophy of mind. Check out his "Labyrinth of Consciousness," the results of his recent meta-analysis of PET scan-based brain studies. Note: it is VRML based, but Dan provides a link to a free VRML browser plug-in. Well worth the look, and his research suggests that, at the very least, we need to be certain of what we mean when we speak of modules of the mind (i.e. localization vs. distributed networks)
MIT's CogNet. If you have access via an institution, there are some useful materials here--perhaps the best resource is MITECS online, the MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. A consistently useful reference.
An archive, regularly updated, of calls for papers in English

UPenn's English CFP Archive