Ecoles thématiques CNRS / CNRS Summer Schools

Enaction et sciences cognitives / Enaction and Cognitive Science

Ecole 2007 : du 7 au 17 septembre 2007 - Fréjus (France)


Alfonsina Scarinzi

Status Thesis student (doctoral candidate)
University / Laboratory Georg-August Universität, Göttingen, Germany
Laboratory website  
Personnal website  
Special information(s)

I work on an interdisciplinary project on literary themes and the role of cognitive processes in the understanding and perception process of the content side of a literary work.

I presented my project at the following conferences:  

  • 2nd International Conference "Consciousness, Theatre, Literature and the Arts", May 5 - 7 2007, Aberystwyth, University of Wales, UK, EU
  •      From the Brain to the Human Culture: Intersections between the Humanities and Neuroscience. An Interdisciplinary Conference Sponsored by the Comparative Humanities Program at Bucknell University, 20 - 22 April 2007, Lewisburg, PA, USA  
  •   26 th PALA (Poetics and Linguistics Association) Conference, 26 - 29   July 2006, Joensuu, Finland, EU
  •   The 4 th European Biannual   Conference of the Society for Science, Literature and the Arts, 13 - 16 June 2006, Amsterdam, Holland, EU  

I wrote the following article (in German and in English) (in press):

  • Das literarische Thema    in der Wissensstruktur des Lesers: Wege und Umwege zu einer kognitiven Rezeptionstheorie des literarischen Themas.   Orbis Litterarum
  • Evoking Interest, Evoking Meaning: The Literary Theme and the Cognitive Function      of Stylistic Devices .    In: Greg Watson (ed.), The State of Stylistics in the 21th Century.   PALA Papers V.   Amsterdam: Rodopi   

Research theme

My field of research is the relationship between humanities and cognitive science and neuroscience. I try to develop a cognitive theory of aesthetic experience in the reception of a literary theme. I analyse the role of embodiment in the reception process of literary works. My concern is to show how embodied knowledge can be related to the reception process of   the theme and its literariness, which I consider to be   the two main constituents of the interaction between the literary text and its reader, and so of literary meaning understanding.

Following the assumption that reason is shaped by the body and that the structure of sensorimotor activity organizing experience is relevant for any account of higher cognitive functions and considering knowledge as an ongoing interactive process between organism and environment, I analyse how the understanding process of the literary theme of a literary text and of its literariness is related to the embodied conceptual systems of the reader.

Key words: embodiment, literariness, cognitive reception processes, aesthetic experience

Video and experimental material