Cover image for Storytelling and the sciences of mind
Storytelling and the sciences of mind
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, 2013.

Physical Description:
xiv, 428 p. : ill.
Added Corporate Author:


Material Type
Shelf Number

On Order



An transdisciplinary exploration of narrative not just as a target for interpretation but also as a means for making sense of experience itself.

With Storytelling and the Sciences of Mind , David Herman proposes a cross-fertilization between the study of narrative and research on intelligent behavior. This cross-fertilization goes beyond the simple importing of ideas from the sciences of mind into scholarship on narrative and instead aims for convergence between work in narrative studies and research in the cognitive sciences. The book as a whole centers on two questions: How do people make sense of stories? And: How do people use stories to make sense of the world? Examining narratives from different periods and across multiple media and genres, Herman shows how traditions of narrative research can help shape ways of formulating and addressing questions about intelligent activity, and vice versa.

Using case studies that range from Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to sequences from The Incredible Hulk comics to narratives told in everyday interaction, Herman considers storytelling both as a target for interpretation and as a resource for making sense of experience itself. In doing so, he puts ideas from narrative scholarship into dialogue with such fields as psycholinguistics, philosophy of mind, and cognitive, social, and ecological psychology. After exploring ways in which interpreters of stories can use textual cues to build narrative worlds, or storyworlds, Herman investigates how this process of narrative worldmaking in turn supports efforts to understand -- and engage with -- the conduct of persons, among other aspects of lived experience.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 1
I Intentionality and Narrative Worldmakingp. 21
1 Grounding Stories in Reasons for Actionp. 23
Worked Example I CAPA: Beyond the Narrative Communication Diagramp. 57
2 Situating Persons (and Their Reasons) in Storyworldsp. 73
II Worlding the Story: Narrative as a Target of Interpretationp. 101
3 Building Storyworlds across Media and Genresp. 103
Worked Example II Oscillatory Optics in Narrative Interpretation: Worlding/Unworlding the Storyp. 144
4 Perspective Taking in Narrative Worldsp. 161
5 Characters, Categorization, and the Concept of Personp. 193
Worked Example III Scenes of Talk in Storyworldsp. 216
III Storying the World: Narrative as a Means for Sense Makingp. 225
6 Narrative as an Instrument of Mindp. 227
Worked Example IV Stories of Transformation as Frameworks for Intelligent Activityp. 252
7 Narrative Embedding and Distributed Intelligencep. 263
Worked Example V Narrative, Space, and Placep. 282
8 Storied Minds (or Persons and Reasons Revisited): Narrative Scaffolding for Folk Psychologyp. 293
Coda: Narrative and Mind: Toward a Transdisciplinary Approachp. 311
Notesp. 315
Referencesp. 367
Indexp. 411