Mark Turner: Big Data Tools for Research on Narrative and Blending

Monday, June 11, 2018, 6:00pm

in H11, C.A.R.L.


For the Aachen lectures on Cognitive and Empirical Literary Studies, I will begin with cognitive operations and then describe a project for their empirical research.
The cognitive operations are those I analyzed in The Literary Mind: The Origins of Thought and Language: (1) blending, otherwise known as conceptual integration, and (2) story. These two basic mental operations are deployed throughout advanced human cognition, usually in tandem. I will present some advances in blending research involving story and then take up the empirical tools: In our age, operating on the premise that language, literature, and communication are usage-based, we expect hypotheses about patterns of human communicative performance—however those hypotheses might have arisen—to be tested against vast, out-of-sample, ecologically valid usage data. How do we do that?

Red Hen Lab is a worldwide cooperative for big data research on multimodal communication. I will present a brief list of some of the many tools Red Hen has developed and highlight an application or two to blending and narrative. Perhaps some of the members of the audience will become Red Hens!


About Mark Turner

Mark Turner is presently teaching as Institute Professor and Professor of Cognitive Science at the Case Western Reserve University. His research focuses on mapping and conceptual integration and the mental operation and higher-order cognition of humans. The higher-order cognitive operations include language, gesture, music, art, systems, religion, and a number of others. These operations, Turner claims, are what sets us apart from other species. He has also taught at the University of California, at Stanford, Syddansk University, at the Sorbonne, and at the Hunan Normal University in China.

Turner is the founding director of the Cognitive Science Network. In this position, he oversees publications in numerous journals such as Cognition and the Arts, Cognition and Culture, Cognitive Linguistics. He is also the founding president of the Myrifield Institute for Cognition and the Arts. As these positions show, Mark Turner heavily encourages research and transdisciplinary projects. As a consequence, he received the Anneliese Maier Research Prize in 2015.

Turner is also the co-director of the Little Red Hen Lab which operates with big data tools, collecting and cataloging language to promote multi-modal research.