Cognitive Mapping and Radio Drama by Alan Beck - Consciousness, Literature and the Arts, Volume 1 Number 2, July 2000

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12.1 Final remarks

I have treated the - for some - daily enjoyment of listening to a radio play as a geography exercise in the imagination, but I hope that I have come at the perennial problems of reception theory for radio from new directions. I have linked cognitive mapping to some challenging developments, especially in film studies and in the digital. But this in turn, like the domino-effect, knocks at other, wider theoretical conundrums. We now draw a borderline between the aesthetics of reception and the psychology of perception. And how to deal with the psychology? I find Forrester's new work in the psychology of sound particularly impelling (Forrester 2000), which has prompted these last thoughts.


As mentioned at the top of this article, film studies has embraced the 'interdisciplinary field known as "cognitive science"' (Branigan, 1992, xii), though a warningly rigorous approach to meta-theory is demanded in the recent collection of essays, Film Theory and Philosophy (Allen and Smith, 1997). Coming from a base in the Humanities as I do, evaluation of cognitive science and cognitive studies presents special difficulties. New and radical theories emerge, as for example, LaBerge's (1997) theory of attention and awareness. (LaBerge suggests a highly compartmentalized brain in which discrete areas perform distinct mental functions.)


How, and this is an obvious plaint, is the lone Humanities academic to assess the match of a cognitive theory with empirical evidence and to cope with the research spread of theories of mental function? At least it is to hoped that this article's limited exploration of cognitive mapping in radio drama allows me some personally-limited and personally-declared exploration of empirical evidence, in the new mood of Post-Theory (Bordwell and Carroll, 1996). Or at least that I have tackled and decomposed the larger complexities of listening-in to radio into some more manageable questions.


 SECTION 1 - Introduction - Way-finding  SECTION 2 - Previous discussions
 SECTION 3 - Cognitive mapping  SECTION 4 - Referentiality
 SECTION 5 - Phenomenology, Reception theory  SECTION 6 - Perspective
 SECTION 7 - Way-finding in radio drama   SECTION 8 - Problems with radio reception theory
SECTION 9 - Listener positioning   SECTION 10 - Objects in outline Gestalts
SECTION 11 - Cognitive mapping in the radio studio
 Glossary  Notes
 Works sited - bibliography Welcome Page for 'Cognitive Mapping'




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