New narrative pleasures? A cognitive-phenomenological study of the experience of reading digital narrative fictions
Thesis for the degree doctor artium.
EXCERPT FROM INTRODUCTION:
This dissertation aims to address – and answer – some of the questions surrounding the ways in which the interface of the digital computer (also known as the GUI) is impacting how we experience – read – GUI narrative fictions. In my view, questions such as these are of utmost importance if we are to appropriately understand how digital technology is affecting central realms of human existence, such as our experiences of the fictions that are created and displayed in an ever increasing variety of media materialities and technological platforms. The main research questions to be dealt with in the following revolve around processes typically taking place when we read, watch, listen, experience, interpret, are engaged in, and interact with, digital hypermedia narrative fictions – what I, for the sake of simplicity, call GUI fictions. In short, how do we read GUI fictions? How, and why, is this reading different from our reading of narrative fiction in print, or of reading narrative fictions on other screens, such as on TV or in a movie theater?
To address and answer these questions, I employ a combination of philosophical and theoretical perspectives which all, on different levels and in different ways, address issues related to how we experience and interact with technologies and their different interfaces, and, more precisely, how we experience narrative fictions embedded in these technologies, with an emphasis on the technology of the GUI. My approaches draw mainly upon phenomenology as it has been developed by Don Ihde and as it has been applied to film and media studies by (in particular) Vivian Sobchack; psychological theories of perception and cognition; cognitivism as advocated by film theorists David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson; and insights from more psychologically – even psycho-biologically – oriented approaches to film as found in contributions by, among others, Torben Grodal and Per Persson.
Critical writing that references this