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John Holbo - Editor
Scott Eric Kaufman - Editor
Aaron Bady
Adam Roberts
Amardeep Singh
Andrew Seal
Bill Benzon
Daniel Green
Jonathan Goodwin
Joseph Kugelmass
Lawrence LaRiviere White
Marc Bousquet
Matt Greenfield
Miriam Burstein
Ray Davis
Rohan Maitzen
Sean McCann
Guest Authors

Laura Carroll
Mark Bauerlein
Miriam Jones

Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

Event Archive

cover of the book The Literary Wittgenstein

Event Archive

cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

Event Archive

cover of the book How Novels Think

Event Archive

cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

Event Archive

cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

Event Archive

cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

Event Archive

The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Across the Disciplines, Get Happy

Posted by Bill Benzon on 02/27/09 at 03:43 PM

OnFiction’s Keith Oatley summarizes recent studies showing that reading about events seems to involve mental simulation of those events:

In a previous study, Speer, Zacks, and Reynolds (2007) found that readers divide stories up into events, and that different brain regions are activated when, in a narrative, a new event occurs. In the study that is in press, this group has found that when they were reading about actions performed by a story character, activation occurred in the region of the reader’s brain that is associated with doing that kind of action in real life. For instance, says the Science Daily report, “changes in the objects a character interacted with (e.g., “pulled a light cord") were associated with increases in a region in the frontal lobes known to be important for controlling grasping motions. Changes in characters’ locations (e.g., “went through the front door into the kitchen") were associated with increases in regions in the temporal lobes that are selectively activate when people view pictures of spatial scenes.”

The National Humanities Center has established a website, On the Human, featuring the work “of university professors who teach courses on humans and their relations to animals and machines.” The site currently includes course materials for 3-credit undergraduate course on this general subject, news items, an explanatory video, and an essay by Geoffrey Harpham, “Science and the Theft of Humanity." The website has a blog, also entitled On the Human; sure to check out the video of a whistling orangutan. More to come.

If the whistling ape doesn’t tickle your fance, check out the latest issue of COLLeGIUM, an online interdisciplinary journal in the human sciences published by the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, which is devoted to Happiness: Cognition, Experience, Language, edited by Heli Tissari, Anne Birgitta Pessi & Mikko Salmela. The papers are available online as PDFs. Contents:

A Happy Introduction

Happiness in Ancient Philosophy, Juha Sihvola

The Logical Structure of Joy (and Many Other Emotions), Mikko Salmela

Can We Raise the Level of Happiness?, Markku Ojanen

What Constitutes Experiences of Happiness and the Good Life? - Building a Novel Model on the Everyday Experiences, Anne Birgitta Pessi

Sour Faces, Happy Lives? On Laughter, Joy and Happiness of the Agelasts, Sari Kivistö

Happy in Changing Contexts: The History of Word-use and the Metamorphoses of a Concept, Hans-Jürgen Diller

The Conceptual Structure of Happiness, Zoltán Kövecses

Happiness and Joy in Corpus Contexts: A Cognitive Semantic Analysis, Heli Tissari

Finally, Nick Fraccaro informs me that Jonathan McCalmont has “an incredibly interesting and clearly divisive post comparing the somewhat disparate films (upon first glance) There Will Be Blood, Aguirre: The Wrath of God, and Steven Soderbergh’s recent Che“ at Ruthless Culture.


Comments

Evil Christians (at Trollblog): http://trollblog.wordpress.com/

By John Emerson on 03/01/09 at 04:38 PM | Permanent link to this comment

You’re welcome post links to your stuff, John. But, there’s little chance anyone will actually see them, not attached to one of my link-posts. Puchalsky’s out there flagging anyone down who approaches and directing them elsewhere, anywhere, but no no no, not to a link-post, not on ahem The Valve.

By Bill Benzon on 03/01/09 at 04:49 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Thank you for letting your readers know about our site, On the Human.  We appreciate it.  A minor correction:  the title of Geoffrey Harpham’s article is “Science and the Theft of Humanity.” Would you mind changing it in your post?  Thanks.

By on 03/27/09 at 12:30 PM | Permanent link to this comment

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