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Unconscious Memory and Mental Space

Chaired by: Dr Ben Morgan (Worcester, Oxford)

Professor Michael Burke (Utrecht): 'Implicit Memory in Literary Discourse Processing'

Michael Burke, Professor of Rhetoric at Utrecht University, explores the role of implicit memory during acts of literary reading. Drawing on his theory of the literary reading loop, he looks at the role that unconscious top-down inputs play and what it takes for such inputs to be able to overrule the incoming rhetorical bottom-up linguistic prompts and reach conscious awareness.

Dr Sebastian Groes (Roehampton): 'Neurofictions? Literary and Neuroscientific Perspectives on Psychogeography'

Principal Investigator of the AHRC and Wellcome Trust-funded Memory Network and English Literature lecturer, Dr Sebastian Groes talks about his collaboration with writer and psychogeographer Will Self and neuroscientist Hugo Spiers (UCL) on research into the brains of London's black cab drivers, memory and spatial navigation. The project shows that consillience between literature and neuroscience is hard to achieve, but that our capacity to process narratives arose from a primal spatial processing system in the hippocampus, which has a vital role in creating semantic maps for spatial sentences, and for narrative memory and narrative processing.