Imagining crawling home: A case study in cognitive science and aesthetics

William Seeley
University of New Hampshire, Manchester
Philosophical accounts of narrative fiction can be loosely divided into two types. Participant accounts argue that some sort of simulation, or 1st person perspective taking plays a critical role in our engagement with narratives. Observer accounts argue to the contrary that we primarily engage narrative fictions from a 3rd person point of view, as either side participants or outside observers. Recent psychological research suggests a means to evaluate this debate. The perception of distance and slope is influenced by the energetic (e.g., task difficulty) and emotional (e.g., anxiety) costs of actions. These effects are limited to increases in the costs of actions agents intend to perform themselves, generalize to cases where participants imagine acting, and demonstrate a role for tacit motor simulation in action planning. If participant accounts are sound, one should, therefore, find similar effects across changes in the interpretation of the costs of actions depicted in static images. We asked people to copy the rough spatial layout of two paintings across different interpretations of the costs of the actions they depicted. We predicted that increasing costs would cause participants to draw distances as longer and hills as steeper. Our results confirm this prediction for the energetic, but not the emotional, costs of actions.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy of Science   Developmental Psychology   Epistemology   Neurosciences   Cognitive Psychology   Philosophy of Mind
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s13164-010-0031-2
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 47,395
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading.Amy Coplan - 2008 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 66 (1):94-97.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
78 ( #113,858 of 2,291,328 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #182,396 of 2,291,328 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature