Literary Studies, Cognitive Science, and Digital Humanities
I studied Literature, Linguistics, and Philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires (2005-2010). Afterwards, Erasmus Mundus granted me with a scholarship to do an international Master at the universities of Strasbourg, Bologna, and Thessaloniki (2011-2013). From 2014 to 2015, I was a PreDoc of the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies, at the Free University of Berlin. Since 2015, I am carrying out my research project on literary interpretation, cognitive science, and digital humanities at the FSGS as a PhD candidate, under the supervision of Prof. Joachim Küpper and Prof. Friedemann Pulvermüller.
The main purpose of my research is to explore how much we can predict of the ways different people might interpret (or might have interpreted) given texts (namely, literary narrative). That is, what meanings are readers prone to attribute to the words they are reading? How might they evaluate the characters, events and subjects of the text? How might they respond emotionally? And how can we describe, explain, and predict these subjective responses?
I propose a particular model for studying these phenomena, which consists, on the one hand, in the use of digital methods for retrieving and analyzing statistical data about both texts and readers' responses (data science) and, on the other, in recruiting psychological models so as to account (theoretically and experimentally) for the results found (cognitive science). A significant part of my research is devoted to the proposal of a naturalistic theory of meaning (inspired by John Searle's ontology of social reality and Daniel Dennett's account of the relationship between nature and culture), which is meant to provide the epistemological grounds of the data-driven and cognitively grounded perspective that I am advocating for the analysis of culture. Accordingly, it must be mentioned that my approach is descriptive, not creative. That is, I am not directly concerned with the invention of original ways of interpreting literary works (which is the task traditionally assumed by literary criticism) but, instead, with formulating falsifiable hypothesis about the ways in which actual readers actually interpret the work in question.
Currently, I am exploring some particular case studies: correlations between mental networks of concepts and word-clouds resulting from measuring the frecuency of related words accross online domains; correlations between psychological profiles of readers and their preferences for certain narrative genres; and correlations between the way readers categorize characters and the expections about the story that they form thereafter. For these and other research subjects, I am using online databases and corpora of texts, text-mining tools (such as GTrends, Voyant, web scrapers), programming languages (Python), and I am considering a variety of cognitive models, ranging from perceptual categorization and prototype theory to embodiement and social cognition.
I am also interested in other fields that are -more or less directly- related to the inquiry of how our mind works when we read stories or process language in general, such as philosophy of mind, cognitive linguistics, neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, cognitive anthropology, and, of course, literary theory.