Emotions, fiction, and cognitive architecture

British Journal of Aesthetics 43 (1):18-34 (2003)
Abstract
Recent theorists suggest that our capacity to respond affectively to fictions depends on our ability to engage in simulation: either simulating a character in the fiction, or simulating someone reading or watching the fiction as though it were fact. We argue that such accounts are quite successful at accounting for many of the basic explananda of our affective engagements in fiction. Nonetheless, we argue further that simulationist accounts ultimately fail, for simulation involves an ineliminably ego-centred element that is atypical of our experience of fiction. We then draw on recent work in philosophical psychology to articulate a more psychologically plausible account of our emotional engagement with fiction.
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Shaun Nichols (2004). Imagining and Believing: The Promise of a Single Code. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 62 (2):129-39.

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