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PSYC 126: Literature and the Brain (COMPLIT 138, COMPLIT 238, ENGLISH 118, ENGLISH 218, FRENCH 118, FRENCH 218, PSYCH 118F)

How does fiction make us better at reading minds? Why do some TV shows get us to believe two contradictory things at once? And can cognitive biases be a writer's best friend? We'll think about these and other questions in the light of contemporary neuroscience and experimental psychology, with the help of Song of Solomon (Toni Morrison), Madame Bovary (Gustave Flaubert), season 1 of Westworld (Lisa Joy / Jonathan Nolan), and short readings from writers like Louise Glück, Jorge Luis Borges, Virginia Woolf, and Marcel Proust. We'll also ask what we see when we read; whether the language we speak affects the way we think; and why different people react differently to the same book. Plus: is free will a fiction, or were you just forced to say that?
Terms: Win | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II
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