Podcast: Probability Designs

What happens when a text encourages certain reader's expectations – and then challenges these later on? In the final episode of this season of the LCE Podcast, Karin Kukkonen, Professor in Comparative literature and convener of LCE, presents her research on Probability Designs.

Karin Kukkonen in the podcast studio.

Karin Kukkonen. Photo: Joakim Magnus Taraldsen

How do readers respond to, experience, and make sense of a literary text? In this podcast, Karin Kukkonen, professor in comparative literature at the University of Oslo, speaks to Stijn Vervaet about how a text's probability design ties in with the reading process. She explains how literary texts provide cues and triggers that not only lure readers into having certain expectations but also constantly invite them to readjust these expectations. How do we as readers, then, navigate a literary text on the level of plot, style, and genre? Listen as Karin Kukkonen discusses how readers involve their bodies when reading and how the reading process is in essence a non-linear activity. As readers, we move back and forth between periods of profound immersion and moments of absent-mindedness that allow us to "watch ourselves thinking." They also talk about how the literary text works to extend cognitive processes happening in our brain.

Karin’s reading recommendation:
Anne Weber, Annette, ein Heldinnenepos. Berlin: Matthes und Seitz.

Learn more about probability designs in Karin’s book:
Karin Kukkonen, Probability Designs: Literature and Predictive Processing. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.

Post-production: Eivind Rutle

Written alternative

Listen to and download the podcast episode: 

By Trine Ottosen
Published Aug. 5, 2022 11:00 AM