Universiteit Leiden

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Language, Stories, and Understanding Others

Friday 16 February 2024
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden


Language and cognition are closely linked, with language playing a major role in how we understand others, known as social cognition. Whether stories can promote social cognition, either by honing social processes or communicating social knowledge, has long been of philosophical interest. Empirical research into this question has yielded many promising results, and just as many additional questions. This talk provides a critical survey of the available evidence that stories can help us to understand other people, with a special focus on the limitations of experimental approaches to answering this question. In closing, I present a survey of additional work from our lab relating language and cognition, highlighting a unique role for narrative fiction in terms of memory, and vocabulary development.

For questions about the event, please contact one of the organisers: Max van Duijn (m.j.van.duijn@liacs.leidenuniv.nl) or Hannah de Mulder (h.n.m.de.mulder@hum.leidenuniv.nl)


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About the speaker

Professor Raymond A. Mar is affiliated with the Department of Psychology at York University, Toronto. He heads the MAR Lab, which has a focus on how imagined experiences, such as those elicited when reading fiction, affect real-world cognition and emotions. Together with students and collaborators, Mar has published an impressive number of studies on this topic and on a variety of other research questions.

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