Performance & Cognition: McConachie
Cognitive scientists working in neuroscience, psychology, linguistics, philosophy, and other fields have made rapid strides in the past twenty years in understanding perception, empathy, spatiality, emotions, meaning-making, and many other cognitive areas that are crucial to producing, enacting, and responding to performances on stage. Surprisingly, however, scholars in theatre and performance studies are just beginning to apply these findings to their field. This book invites theatre and performance scholars to incorporate many of the insights of cognitive science into their work and to begin considering all of their research projects from the perspective of cognitive studies. As well as including a comprehensive introduction to the challenges of cognitive studies for theatre and performance scholarship, the volume features essays in all of the major areas of theatre and performance. Several of the essays use cognitive studies to challenge some of the key scholarly and practical orientations in theatre andperformance studies. The experimentally based insights of cognitive science are shown to be at odds with Saussurean semiotics, psychoanalysis, and aspects of deconstruction, new historicism, and Foucauldian discourse theory. The contributors also apply ideas from cognitive studies to open up the possible meanings of plays to readers, and to illuminate the process of acting through the work of the cognitive neuroscientist Antonio Damasio. Theatrical response is examined with an essay focusing on the general dynamics of perception, and another explaining the riots that greeted the 1907 production of 'The Playboy of the Western World' through cognitive stereotyping. '' 'Performanceand Cognition 'opens up fresh perspectives on theatre studies--with applications for dramatic criticism, performance analysis, acting practice, audience response, theatre history, and other important areas--and sets the agenda for future work, helping to map the emergence of this new approach.