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Exploring Inner Perceptions: Interoception, Literature, and Mindfulness

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This article establishes a connection between the novel, as a cultural artefact which encourages the exploration of inner perceptions, literary reading, and recent research into interoception in cognitive psychology. Interoception is broadly conceived here, ranging from physical states (like pulse, breathing rate, etc.) to emotions and the conscious perception of these physical states. The article identifies relevant interoceptive mechanisms in literary reading and develops a research programme for their empirical study. It unfolds an account of the relationship between interoception and exteroception, as well as critical concepts to capture how readers' interoception aligns with the embodied signature of the text ('interoceptive attunement') and how the text offers points of re-entry after readers' remindings ('interoceptive anchors'). The article closes with a discussion of the role of interoception in the investigation of mindfulness meditation, and how this might enable an empirical comparison between the two cultural practices of mindfulness meditation and literary reading.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Oslo, PO Box 1003 Blindern, 0315 Oslo, Norway., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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