How does literature express, shape and reflect human thoughts and feelings? These questions on the relationship between thought and feelings have given rise to a new research field.
Three research topics
Emotions across Cultures and Languages
– the ways in which literature highlights our feelings across different cultures and languages.
Literature, in many respects, draws on the particular in its linguistic and cultural embeddedness while, at the same time, it is thought to evoke the «big» emotions that all people share. Research connected to this trajectory investigates these tensions, as well as the relations between emotion, affect, mood and feeling as states of emotional involvedness.
Cultural and Cognitive Memory
– how literature shapes memories and identities.
The stories that we tell about ourselves are crucial for the ways in which we remember experiences and construct our private and social identities. Memory’s temporal dynamics goes hand in hand with these stories, as the literary imagination comes to inform personal templates of the self and as processes of social cognition shape cultural memory.
Literature as a Lifeworld Technology
– the role that literary texts and literary reading play in the digital lifeworld.
As the twenty-first century lifeworld changes toward digitization, the question arises whether deep literary reading is still a cognitive process connected to literature on screen, what are the cognitive effects of digital, shallow forms of reading and whether teaching more literature might offer a countermeasure.