Emily Troscianko

Emily Troscianko
University of Oxford | OX · The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH)

DPhil, German Literature, University of Oxford

About

50
Publications
26,797
Reads
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207
Citations
Additional affiliations
October 2017 - present
University of Oxford
Position
  • Research Associate
February 2016 - February 2016
University of London
Position
  • Session leader, Cognitive Approaches to Classical Literature graduate workshop,
Description
  • The conclusion to a workshop which introduced classics graduates to cognitive approaches to literature, this session included discussion of both conceptual and pragmatic issues raised by interdisciplinary science-humanities research.
February 2015 - May 2015
University of Oxford
Position
  • Research Assistant
Description
  • Research Assistant to Katrin Kohl on the successful AHRC Open World Research Initiative grant bid 'Creative Multilingualism'.
Education
October 2006 - March 2010
Brasenose College, University of Oxford
Field of study
  • German
October 2005 - June 2006
Brasenose College, University of Oxford
Field of study
  • European Literature
October 2000 - June 2004
St Hilda's College, University of Oxford
Field of study
  • French and German

Publications

Publications (50)
Article
Background: Bibliotherapy is under-theorized and under-tested: its purposes and implementations vary widely, and the idea that ‘reading is good for you’ is often more assumed than demonstrated. One obstacle to developing robust empirical and theoretical foundations for bibliotherapy is the continued absence of analytical methods capable of providin...
Article
We investigated the effects of narrative perspective on mental imagery by comparing responses to an English translation of Franz Kafka’s Das Schloß ( The Castle ) in the published version (narrated in the third person) versus an earlier (first-person) draft. We analysed participants’ pencil drawings of their imaginative experience for presence/abse...
Chapter
Nietzsche’s writing and thought about the mind challenge some of the same Cartesian dichotomies that the more recent frameworks of 4E and distributed cognition do. Zur Genealogie der Moral ( On the Genealogy of Morals ), a highpoint in Nietzsche’s project of the ‘Umwertung aller Werte’ (revaluation of all values), is a proclamation of perspectivism...
Article
Full-text available
Mainstream forms of psychiatric talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) do not reliably generate lasting recovery for eating disorders. We discuss widespread assumptions regarding the nature of eating disorders as fundamentally psychological disorders and highlight the problems that underlie these notions, as well as related practical p...
Book
Full-text available
This edition of Consciousness, revised by author team Susan Blackmore and Emily Troscianko, explores the key theories and evidence in consciousness studies ranging from neuroscience and psychology to quantum theories and philosophy. It examines why the term ‘consciousness’ has no recognised definition and provides an opportunity to delve into perso...
Chapter
Directing attention may feel like pointing a spotlight, but what is happening in the brain and how does attention relate to consciousness? Two broad types of attention are controlled by different brain systems: the dorsal (voluntary) and ventral (involuntary) attention systems. Theories of attention are reviewed, including bottleneck or filter theo...
Chapter
The Buddha claimed to have ‘woken up’, describing a way to end suffering by seeing all phenomena as impermanent and letting go of desire and the illusory self. Many others have described awakening, but do they all undergo the same changes in self and consciousness? Buddhism has interacted more closely with science and psychotherapy than other relig...
Chapter
The basic principles by which evolution creates design without a plan or designer are outlined. Darwin’s idea of ‘descent with modification’ is explained in terms of the evolutionary algorithm and the ‘modern synthesis’ between genetics and evolutionary theory. Selfish gene theory suggests the possibility of a second replicator, the meme, which dep...
Chapter
Can the brain tell us everything we need to know about consciousness? Some materialists say yes, while theorists of ‘extended mind’ and ‘embodied cognition’ criticise ‘neurocentrism’ and say no. Mysterians claim that we can never understand consciousness at all. This chapter briefly reviews the anatomy and function of the human nervous system, from...
Chapter
Is there a real divide between reality and imagination? Reality discrimination or reality monitoring are the processes by which we distinguish the two, based on memory, clarity, or availability, but false memories are easily created. True hallucinations are often distinguished from pseudo-hallucinations, illusions, and imagination, but there are no...
Chapter
The idea that we are unified conscious selves experiencing a stream of consciousness is natural but problematic. For example, cases of multiple personality show that one body can sometimes support more than one self, although theories differ on the nature of those selves. Two categories of theory are contrasted: ego theories posit a continuing self...
Chapter
Introspection is essential to the study of subjective experience but is problematic. Some call for a special ‘first-person science’ of consciousness based on irreducible subjective facts; others claim that ‘first-person methods’ such as introspection, meditation, or other personal explorations and training are valid, but science is a collective ent...
Chapter
Are we really free when we choose our actions? The major religions rely heavily on the concept of free will and most people believe in it, but there are serious problems. First we review the neuroanatomy of volition: the networks involved in internally and externally triggered actions and in decision-making. Libet’s ‘half-second delay in consciousn...
Chapter
We feel ourselves to be one united self, experiencing one stream of consciousness at a time, yet look inside the brain and we find a parallel system of great complexity and diversity. The ‘binding problem’ concerns how the features of an object are brought together. For example, different parts of the visual system deal with colour, shape, and move...
Chapter
After briefly surveying the basics of waking, sleeping, and dreaming, this chapter turns from physiology to experience. Dreams are often bizarre, with incongruity, uncertainty, and sudden scene changes, possibly due to failed feature binding. Studies of dream recall and content reveal sex differences in content and show how children’s dreams develo...
Chapter
Could machines ever be conscious? Ways to find out include reverse-engineering human machines or artificial ones. A brief history of artificial intelligence (AI) leads from early automata through calculating machines and ‘Good Old-Fashioned AI’ to connectionism, embodied cognition, and swarm robotics. Turing asked ‘Can machines think?’ Attempts to...
Chapter
Does the fact that we are conscious mean that consciousness must have evolved to serve a function? Not necessarily. This question relates to whether consciousness has causal efficacy and whether we humans might have evolved as zombies rather than ‘conscies’. Four ways of thinking about the evolution of consciousness are explored: 1) Belief in zombi...
Chapter
We may have powerful intuitions about our own minds, but they must be questioned. Could vision, consciousness, self, and free will all be illusory – meaning that they are not what they seem? This chapter concentrates on whether vision is a ‘grand illusion’. This idea emerged from research on ‘change blindness’, which found that even large changes i...
Chapter
Altered states of consciousness (ASCs) are surprisingly hard to define or measure. Neither subjective methods, like verbal reports, nor objective measures such as how the state is induced, or physiological and behavioural criteria, are entirely satisfactory. Attempts to map ASCs are reviewed, including two- or three-dimensional maps such as Tart’s...
Chapter
The metaphor of mind as a theatre is common and alluring, but might it lead us astray? Dennett criticises those who imagine a ‘Cartesian theatre’: a mythical place in which consciousness happens and its contents come and go. This cannot exist because the brain is a massively parallel system with no centre, place, or process where the ‘audience of o...
Chapter
Is the age-old distinction between the ‘conscious mind’ and ‘the unconscious’ valid, or do powerful, but false, intuitions mislead us? Unconscious, implicit, or subliminal perception is reviewed, from early ideas of a ‘subliminal self’ to modern debates over subliminal perception, including signal detection theory, priming, and the differences betw...
Chapter
The problem of consciousness relates to what the world is made of, how it began, the nature of selves, and above all the mind-body problem. In philosophy, dualism is the idea that mind and matter are distinct – a common belief in most societies and religions. In Cartesian dualism (described by René Descartes) mind and matter are separate substances...
Chapter
Although there is no recognised definition of consciousness, many researchers refer back to the famous question, ‘What is it like to be a bat?’. If there is anything it is like for the bat, that is what is meant by being conscious. This is also called ‘phenomenal consciousness’ (P-consciousness) or ‘phenomenality’ and is sometimes contrasted with ‘...
Article
Compared with self-help bibliotherapy, little is known about the efficacy of creative bibliotherapy or the mechanisms of its possible efficacy for eating disorders or any other mental health condition. It is clear, however, that fiction is widely used informally as a therapeutic or antitherapeutic tool and that it has considerable potential in both...
Article
Full-text available
Background There is growing evidence for the efficacy of self-help bibliotherapy as a treatment for eating disorders, although little understanding of how specific linguistic characteristics may enhance or constrain its effects. Meanwhile, ‘creative bibliotherapy’ (the therapeutic use of fiction, poetry, or sometimes film, rather than self-help boo...
Chapter
Kafka has been fascinating and unsettling his readers for over a century now, and this chapter charts a brief history of the ways in which Kafka studies has tackled the question of how his texts are and can be read, within and beyond the academy. My angle of inquiry is a cognitive one, focused on the connections established between textual features...
Chapter
Full-text available
Aesthetic illusion is one of many terms available for describing the experience of engaging with fiction. This chapter argues that aesthetic illusion has important qualities lacking in alternative terms – above all, it reminds us that reading experiences are more complex than just ‘immersion’, ‘absorption’, or ‘transportation’. Despite this potenti...
Chapter
Feedback structures are crucial to the act of reading. This is especially clear in contexts for reading where the cognitive stakes are higher, for example, where psychopathology plays a role. Using disordered eating as a test case, this chapter shows how an understanding of the principles of feedback and stability—and in particular the distinction...
Book
This book brings together researchers with cognitive-scientific and literary backgrounds to present innovative research in all three variations on the possible interactions between literary studies and cognitive science. The tripartite structure of the volume reflects a more ambitious conception of what cognitive approaches to literature are and co...
Presentation
Full-text available
Argues that the study of literature will survive as an academic discipline only if it starts to ask itself, seriously, ’What is the origin of the conviction that literature matters?’.
Article
Full-text available
I argue that understanding cognition as enactive-that is, as constituted of physical interaction between embodied minds and the environment-can illuminate the opening of Kafka's novel Der Proceβ (The Trial), revealing it as cognitively realistic in this respect. I show how enactivism is relevant to this passage in several ways: in terms of enactive...
Book
Full-text available
This book uses insights from the cognitive sciences to illuminate Kafka's poetics, exemplifying a paradigm for literary studies in which cognitive-scientific insights are brought to bear directly on literary texts. The volume shows that the concept of "cognitive realism" can be a critically productive framework for exploring how textual evocations...
Article
Full-text available
An important claim made for second-generation accounts of cognition is that they help solve the problem of dualism, which arguably remains unchallenged in much literary criticism. Kafka’s short story “Ein Hungerkünstler” (A Hunger Artist) is about a profoundly embodied experience of (unsuccessfully) denying embodiment: fasting to death. With this t...
Article
Full-text available
The famous ‘madeleine episode’ of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time is investigated with reference to cognitive realism in the evocation of memory, by asking how this literary memory experience compares with the conceptualization of memory in current cognitive science. Furthermore, what does close reading of the episode informed by current scientific...
Article
Full-text available
I argue that literary studies can contribute to the “imagery debate” (between pictorialist, propositionalist, and enactivist accounts of mental imagery). While imagery questionnaires are pictorially configured and conflate imagining and seeing with pictorial representation, literary texts can exploit language's capacity for indeterminacy and theref...
Article
Full-text available
Book review.
Article
Full-text available
The ‘‘cognitive realism' of memory in Madame Bovary is investigated by means of relevant research in the cognitive sciences, drawing conclusions which complement those of traditional literary criticism. In particular, Emma Bovary's memory is elucidated with reference to cognitive-dissonance theory: the human need for coherence between memory and se...
Article
Full-text available
A report on the conference Immersion and the Storyworld held at St John’s College, Oxford on June 25–26, 2012. You can also read the full text on the JLT Online site at http://www.jltonline.de/index.php/conferences/article/view/517/1349.
Article
Full-text available
Book review.
Article
Full-text available
We read in a linear fashion, page by page, and we seem also to experience the world around us thus, moment by moment. But research on visual perception shows that perceptual experience is not pictorially representational: it does not consist in a linear, cumulative, totalizing process of building up a stream of internal picture-like representations...

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