Abstract

Normative “Theory of Mind” is the lens through which cognitive psychologists understand the empathic response of readers to fiction and fictive characters. This paper attempts to demonstrate how the modernist aesthetics put forth by Franz Kafka and his literary descendent, Kazuo Ishiguro, model experimental cognition that is profoundly amnesic and deeply decontextualized. Focusing on the expressionist “gesture” in their narratives at the expense of normatively contextualized Theory of Mind, both authors cultivate a distinctive attentiveness in their characters and for their readers’ empathic experiences. This study is a useful paradigm for the effect literary experiment might have on the limits set by cognitive psychology’s normative understanding of cognition, empathy, and Theory of Mind.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. A230-A247
Launched on MUSE
2014-11-13
Open Access
No
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