Narrative and Cognition

Narrative understanding is a complex activity. Despite decades of research, the cognitive mechanisms behind the human creativity and human perception of complex affects, such as suspense or humor, still have not been clearly explained. In this area of research, I explore human cognition and employ cognitive insights to inform the design of AI algorithms.

Two research projects of mine fall in this area. In the first project, I investigated a world-famous Japanese sci-fi manga, Doraemon, which is known for portraying a large quantity of futuristic gadgets with often unexpected outcomes. I proposed cognitive strategies that could have been used to create these gadgets. Through the lens of cognitive science, it can be seen that the design of most gadgets involves recombination and modification of known objects, rather than creation from thin air.

In the second project, I postulated a cognitive theory of humor, which unified several mainstream theories which had been seen as incompatible. This unified theory is also supported by evidence from neuroscience.

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