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How literature plays with the brain; the neuroscience of reading and art.


How literature plays with the brain; the neuroscience of reading and art.

Armstrong, Paul B.

Johns Hopkins U. Press


221 pages




A fascinating and original contribution to the study of our mind and "that which makes us human"--this cross-disciplinary volume (a curious combination of aesthetics, literature, and neuro-science, written by Armstrong, a professor of English) attempts to describe the effect art (and literature in particular) has on our cognitive function. Armstrong demonstrates that literature sets up tensions in our brain by the "experiences of harmony and dissonance" that enables us to perceive incommensurable meanings in the same text simultaneously. A model of neural basis of the aesthetic experience is proposed. This book would be of interest to both neuro-scientists and philologists, as it provides a road plan for possible research for the former, and helps ground the work of the latter in basic science.

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Publication:Reference & Research Book News
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 1, 2013
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