We conducted the largest multiple-iteration retelling study to date (12,840 participants and 19,086 retellings) with two different studies that test how emotional appraisals are transmitted across retellings. We use a novel Bayesian model that tracks changes across retellings. Study 1 examines the preservation of appraisals of happy and sad stories and finds that retellings preserve the story’s degree of happiness and sadness even when length shrinks and aspects of story coherence and rationalisation deteriorate. Study 2 compared the transmission of appraisals (...) of happiness and sadness with embarrassment, disgust, and risk. Appraisals of happiness, sadness, and also embarrassment showed high appraisal preservation, while disgust and risk were not well preserved. We conclude that participants in our studies encoded happy and sad stories by encapsulating the events and details into an overall emotional appraisal of the story and that this processing strategy might also apply to stories involving other emotions like embarrassment. The emotional appraisal played a key role in retelling by helping to guide the selection, invention, and ordering of the story elements. Hence, we posit that emotion appraisals can operate as anchors for remembering and retelling stories, thus playing an important role in narrative communication. (shrink)
This paper proposes a conceptual framework of multiversional narrative processing, or multiversionality. Multiversionality is the consideration of multiple possible event sequences for an incomplete narrative during reception, from reading a novel to listening to the story of a friend’s day. It occurs naturally and is experienced in a wide range of cases, such as suspense, surprise, counterfactuals, and detective stories. Receiving a narrative, we propose, is characterized by the spontaneous creation of competing interpretive models of the narrative that are then (...) used to create predictions and projections for the narrative’s future. These predictions serve as a mechanism for integrating incoming information and updating the narrative model through prediction error, without completely eliminating past versions. We define this process as having three aspects: (1) constrained expectations, (2) preference projection, and (3) causal extrapolation. Constrained expectations and preference projections respectively create the bounds and subjective desires for a narrative’s progress, while causal extrapolation builds, reworks, and maintains the potential models for understanding the narrative. We offer multiversionality as a novel framework for thinking about narrative, social cognition, and decision making that presents adaptive benefits and future directions for empirical study. (shrink)
This article proposes a three-step model of empathy. It assumes that people have various empathy-related mechanisms available and thus can be described as hyper-empathic (Step 1). Under these conditions, the question of blocking and controlling empathy becomes a central issue to channel empathic attention and to avoid self-loss (Step 2). It is assumed that empathy can be sustained only when these mechanisms of controlling empathy are bypassed (Step 3). In particular, the article proposes a three-person scenario with one observing a (...) conflict of two others. By taking the side of one of the combatants, the observer is led into empathizing, perhaps to justify her/his earlier side-taking. (shrink)
When people retell stories, what guides their retelling? Most previous research on story retelling and story comprehension has focused on information accuracy as the key measure of stability in transmission. This paper suggests that there is a second, affective, dimension that provides stability for retellings, namely the audience affect of surprise. In a large-sample study with multiple iterations of retellings, we found evidence that people are quite accurate in preserving all degrees of surprisingness in serial reproduction – even when the (...) event that produced the surprisingness in the original story is dropped or changed. Thus, we propose that the preservation of affect is an implicit goal of retelling: not merely do retellers recall highly surprising events better, but rather they register all levels of surprisingness precisely and aim to surprise their implied audience to same degree. This study used 2,389 participants. (shrink)
This paper develops a theory of aesthetic experience from the perspective of the empathetic observer. It suggests that there are some experiences in which empathy and aesthetic experience are indistinguishable. The paper focusses on one of these experiences, namely that of narrative turning points. Empathy involves co-experiencing the situations of others and their emotional states, while aesthetics involves an intense experience from some distance. The two come together when emotions are shared between observer and observed and with some distance. Narratives (...) are one of these forms where sharing and distance can coexist. In particular, narrative turning points involve an intense recursive or oscillating reception structure: Observers who are absorbed by a specific moment imagine and experience alternative developments and alternative versions of the events or take more than one perspective of the moment (as in recognition scenes), thereby mentally looping back and forth. This paper discusses this structure along with its key notions: intensity, narrative empathy, aesthetic experience, empathy triggers, stage effects, and clarity. In diesem Aufsatz wird eine Theorie der Ästhetik ausgehend von der Perspektive des empathischen Beobachters entwickelt. Man könnte von einer Theorie der ästhetischen Anteilnahme sprechen. Die Kernthese des Aufsatzes besteht darin, dass es Erfahrungen gibt, in denen Empathie und ästhetische Erfahrung identisch sind. Eine dieser Erfahrungen steht im Zentrum der Argumentation, nämlich der narrative Wendepunkt. Empathie besteht im Mit-Erleben der Situation eines anderen inklusive der mit ihr verbundenen emotionalen Zustände; ästhetische Erfahrung involviert intensive innere Bewegung bei gleichzeitiger Distanz. Empathie und Ästhetik kommen darin überein, dass Emotionen trotz einer gewissen Distanz von Beobachter und Beobachtetem geteilt werden. Dazu kann es in Narrationen kommen. Narrative Wendepunkte beinhalten eine intensive und rekursive Rückkoppelung oder Oszillation, in denen Beobachter alternative Entwicklungen zu dem gegebenen Augenblick hinzudenken oder mehr als eine Perspektive einnehmen, wie in Wiedererkennungen, und insofern mental hin- und herspringen. Der Aufsatz diskutiert diese Struktur mit ihren Elementen wie Intensität, narrative Empathie, ästhetische Erfahrung, Empathie-Auslöser, Bühnen-Effekte und Klarheit. (shrink)
We challenge Johnson et al.'s assumption that people reduce unclear situations to a single narrative explanation and that such reduction would be adaptive for decision-making under radical uncertainty. Instead, we argue that people imagine and maintain multiple narrative possibilities throughout the decision-making process and that this process provides cognitive flexibility and adaptive benefits within the proposed model.
This article examines the relation of empathy and rational judgment. When people observe a conflict most are quick to side with one of the parties. Once a side has been taken, empathy with that party further solidifies this choice. Hence, it will be suggested that empathy is not neutral to judgment and rational decision-making. This does not mean, however, that the one who empathizes will necessarily have made the best choice.
Frankfurt/M., Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien. Herausgegeben von Wilhelm Lutterfelds, Richard Raatzsch und Andreas Roser. The works of both Goethe and Wittgenstein are a permanent challenge. Goethe's lasting effectiveness is to be found in the alternative nature of his world-view (Weltan-Schauung), which may be characterized as a morphological access to the manifold of phenomena. Lasting in a similar way to the effect of Goethe, one could certainly say today that Wittgenstein's effect has lasted. This is no coincidence. The (...) fact that late Wittgenstein goes together with Goethe in fundamental respects, or even follows him, cannot be overseen. Wittgenstein's lasting legacy has, to a large extent, the same source as that of Goethe's. - This relation is the subject of this book. Contents: Fritz Breithaupt/Richard Raatzsch: Introduction - James C. Klagge: The Puzzle of Goethe's Influence on Wittgenstein - Matthias Kross: Engineering Phenomena: Wittgenstein and Goethe on Scientific Method - Nikos Psarros: "Water is one individual thing - it never changes." Quoting Faraday in the Philosophical Investigations: A Riddle with a Goethean Solution? - Joachim Schulte: Goethe and Wittgenstein on Morphology - Fritz Breithaupt: Non-Referentiality: A Common Strategy in Goethe's Urphanomen and Wittgenstein's Language-Game - Alfred Nordmann: "I have changed his way of seeing" -Goethe, Lichtenberg, and Wittgenstein - Garry Hagberg: The Mind shown. Wittgenstein, Goethe and the Question of Person-Perception - Richard Eldridge: Romantic Subjectivity in Goethe and Wittgenstein - Richard Raatzsch: Goethe's Wahlverwandtschaften - The Ethical Investigations of Late Wittgenstein? (shrink)