DEICTIC CENTERS
AND THE COGNITIVE STRUCTURE
OF NARRATIVE COMPREHENSION

Discourse and Narrative Research Group
Center for Cognitive Science
State University of New York at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY 14260

Last Update: 27 November 2013

Note: NEW or UPDATED material is highlighted

Since the early 1980s, we have been conducting an interdisciplinary, cognitive-science research project on the comprehension of narrative text. The unifying theme of our work has been the notion of a deictic center: a mental model of spatial, temporal, and character information contributed by the reader of the narrative and used by the reader in understanding the narrative. We examine the deictic center in the light of our investigations from the viewpoints of linguistics, cognitive psychology, individual differences (language pathology), literary theory of narrative, and artificial intelligence. Although our formal research project has ended, much of the current research of the individual members continues and extends the work begun in this project.

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