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Call for proposals: Performing Psychologies

ESSAY COLLECTION CALL FOR PROPOSALS:

 Performing Psychologies: Minding The Remembered Present

(working title)

 

Edited by Pil Hansen, School of Creative and Performing Arts, University of Calgary, CA (Dramaturgy and Cognitive Performance Studies) with Bettina Blaesing, Faculty of Psychology and Sport Sciences, Bielefeld University, GE (Neurocognition and Action – Biomechanics).

This book is the second of two Performing Psychologies volumes, the first of which is edited by Nicola Shaughnessy, University of Kent, UK (Theatre), with Philip Barnard, University of Cambridge, UK (Neuroscience) on the topic of imagination and other minds.

We invite proposals from scholars, researcher-practitioners, and scientists working between the performing arts and cognitive sciences on the subject of processes of memory in dance, theatre, or music performance.

The aim of this essay collection is twofold: (1) discuss how performing arts practices strategically target cognitive processes of human memory and (2) present insights into memory that derive from the study of such practices.

In recent years, a growing number of cognitive scientists study memory through experiments with performance subjects; at the same time, the number of artists that make use of cognitive memory studies and theory to develop creation approaches and lines of artistic inquiry is also increasing. A shift from a general understanding of memory as archived and retrievable information to a cognitive conception of long-term memory as a reconstructive process, involving our active engagement with our surroundings in the present, changes the possible avenues of working through memory in performance. In turn, cognitive scientists working with performing arts cases discover that performers’ advanced learning, memorization, and retrieval abilities depend on a complex combination of multisensory perceptions, articulations, and clues that question more classical concepts of memory. Scientists are motivated to advance the ability to study complex dynamics of artistic practice and artists are looking beyond broad concepts of intuition, presence, and cultural memory towards more detailed and precise cognitive understandings.

This volume will map, articulate, and support the continued realization of the possibilities identified by this rich field of reciprocal exchange between the performing arts and cognitive sciences. Contributors are encouraged to consider, but not be restricted by, the following topics when forming proposals:

  • Entrainment in performance as a source of joint/collective memory construction and retrieval
  • The role of trained, implicit memory in entrainment and improvisation
  • Performing arts training as a form of cross-modal perceptual specialization embedded in procedural and implicit memory
  • Performers’ stage presence as a mode of perceptual attention that prioritizes working memory processes
  • Expansion of working memory capacity through performing arts practices
  • Creative strategies and “impossible tasks” that aim to hinder reliance on implicit memory (skills and habits) in an attempt to create something new
  • The cognitive advantages of using marking and other forms of physicalized or sounded memory recall when reflecting upon compositional options
  • Creative approaches that make strategic use of declarative and explicit memory for memorization, to access source materials, or to activate performance tasks, rules, and structures.
  • Neuroplasticity and creative strategies for the adaptation of autobiographical memory
  • Performance as a mediator between cognitive processes of memory and external archives, records, and notations
  • Strategies for expanding, synchronizing, or hindering spectators’ processes of memory in ways that relate to the strategies used by performers

We welcome abstracts (400 – 500 words) on a broad range of approaches to these and related topics. Proposals are to be submitted by June 1st, 2015. First drafts will be due no later than October 1, 2015, and final versions of the chapters will be due on March 1st, 2016.

Note that priority will be given to proposals that either 1) are based on methodologically defined empirical cases, experiments, or practice-based research or 2) present hypothetical proposals that build on reviews of such studies. While selected authors will be invited to write in the language of their respective disciplines, some additional introduction of central concepts and presentation of research methods used will be requested in order to achieve interdisciplinary accessibility.

Please send submissions and questions to both Pil Hansen and Bettina Blaesing at:

pil.hansen@ucalgary.ca

bettina.blaesing@uni-bielefeld.de

Communicated by  Pil Hansen, PhD

Assistant Professor, School of Creative and Performing Arts, University of Calgary

Honorary Adjunct Professor, Graduate Program in Dance, York University

Dramaturg, Acts of Memory / Vertical City / Kaeja d’Dance

Combining universal beauty and cultural context in a unifying model of visual aesthetic experience, by C. Redies

New open-access paper just published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience:

Redies C (2015) Combining universal beauty and cultural context in a unifying model of visual aesthetic experienceFront. Hum. Neurosci. 9:218. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00218

Abstract:

In this work, I propose a model of visual aesthetic experience that combines formalist and contextual aspects of aesthetics. The model distinguishes between two modes of processing. First, perceptual processing is based on the intrinsic form of an artwork, which may or may not be beautiful. If it is beautiful, a beauty-responsive mechanism is activated in the brain. This bottom–up mechanism is universal amongst humans; it is widespread in the visual brain and responsive across visual modalities. Second, cognitive processing is based on contextual information, such as the depicted content, the intentions of the artist or the circumstances of the presentation of the artwork. Cognitive processing is partially top–down and varies between individuals according to their cultural experience. Processing in the two channels is parallel and largely independent. In the general case, an aesthetic experience is induced if processing in both channels is favorable, i.e., if there is resonance in the perceptual processing channel (“aesthetics of perception”), and successful mastering in the cognitive processing channel (“aesthetics of cognition”). I speculate that this combinatorial mechanism has evolved to mediate social bonding between members of a (cultural) group of people. Primary emotions can be elicited via both channels and modulate the degree of the aesthetic experience. Two special cases are discussed. First, in a subset of (post-)modern art, beauty no longer plays a prominent role. Second, in some forms of abstract art, beautiful form can be enjoyed with minimal cognitive processing. The model is applied to examples of Western art. Finally, implications of the model are discussed. In summary, the proposed model resolves the seeming contradiction between formalist perceptual approaches to aesthetic experience, which are based on the intrinsic beauty of artworks, and contextual approaches, which account for highly individual and culturally dependent aspects of aesthetics.

Neurocognitive poetics, by Arthur M. Jacobs

New open-access paper just published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience:

Jacobs AM (2015) Neurocognitive poetics: methods and models for investigating the neuronal and cognitive-affective bases of literature reception. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 9:186.

Abstract:

A long tradition of research including classical rhetoric, esthetics and poetics theory, formalism and structuralism, as well as current perspectives in (neuro)cognitive poetics has investigated structural and functional aspects of literature reception. Despite a wealth of literature published in specialized journals like Poetics, however, still little is known about how the brain processes and creates literary and poetic texts. Still, such stimulus material might be suited better than other genres for demonstrating the complexities with which our brain constructs the world in and around us, because it unifies thought and language, music and imagery in a clear, manageable way, most often with play, pleasure, and emotion (Schrott and Jacobs, 2011). In this paper, I discuss methods and models for investigating the neuronal and cognitive-affective bases of literary reading together with pertinent results from studies on poetics, text processing, emotion, or neuroaesthetics, and outline current challenges and future perspectives.

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