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updated 2 months ago

I need help determining the context Annie Murphy Paul is writing in Your Brain on Fiction


Question : Going through the steps of critical thinking determine the context that Paul is writing in. Do some research if it helps. 

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1 Answer
updated 7 months ago

I’d say that the questions raised in the article written by Annie Murphy Paul and the answers the author gave indicate their context as belonged to a cognitive linguistic.

The main thesis of the article is that not only a direct meaning of the words matters in the process of language perception. The process of language understanding is linked to the sensory experience. In other words, there are basic brain’s areas that are responsible for a language understanding. But when we read, hear or say words that stimulate our sensory memory (cinnamon or lemon are linked with olfactory and taste) it provokes more areas of our brain to be involved in the process. We perceive words emotionally and on the level of our senses, words also matter.

Such ideas echo the conception of a cognitive metaphor elaborated by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in their work Metaphors We Live By (short description is here They offer an approach to the problem from the another angle. They claim that our language is shaped by metaphors based on our outside-of-language experience. Both Paul and Lakoff&Johnson speak of the same issue - language is connected with our perceptual experience. However, they come to somewhat different conclusions. So I’d say that this is rather a methodological context of the article (Your Brain on Fiction) - on the intersection of linguistic, cognitive science and neuroscience.  

For Annie Murphy Paul the context of her conclusions is educational. If the metaphoric language provokes our brain to work more intensively it means that reading of a fictional literature is an exclusive experience comparing to the reading of the factual information in literal expressions. In its turn, it means that literature is crucial to be a part of everyday life of any person who seeks for a self-development. At this, her ideas echo the famous article of Neil Gaiman on The Truth of Fiction and Why Fiction Matters Today More Than Ever Before.

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