Narratives as tool for co-experiencing

CASCB, The Politics of Inequality, Department of Literature, Art and Media Studies

Fritz Breithaupt, Provost Professor at Indiana University in Cognitive Science and Germanic Studies

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. I will present data from studies of story retelling in the mode of serial reproduction as in the telephone game to distill the basic mental schema of stories and communication and will report about ongoing studies targeting narrative co-experiencing.

Fritz Breithaupt is Provost Professor at Indiana University in Cognitive Science and Germanic Studies, and he is director of graduate studies in cognitive science. His research focusses on empathy, narrative thinking, and aesthetic emotions. His work is taking place in a variety of methodological settings, ranging from running experiments with large numbers of participants to close literary readings. His most recent book is Das narrative Gehirn/The narrative Brain (Suhrkamp 2022/English version forthcoming at Yale UP) and is the official Science Book of 2023 in Austria (“Wissenschaftsbuch des Jahres”). Other books include Die dunklen Seiten der Empathie/The Dark Sides of Empathy (Suhrkamp 2017/Cornell University Press, 2019) and Kultur der Ausrede (Suhrkamp 2013 ). He is the director of the Experimental Humanities Lab.

Datum: 02.05.2023