The neuroscientific case for fiction

Salon lets a neuroscientist cum novelist riff for a bit on how the mind is affected by fiction and I find this stuff fascinating. Overfitted brains, dreams vs stories, swapping out inputs, etc. It’s the sort of thing I like to read then immediately ignore.

In the real world, the contents of another’s consciousness are inferable only from their actions — encased behind bone, minds are invisible, and humans are forced to live looking at the “extrinsic perspective” of the world. However, characters in a novel can be splayed open, minds made viewable, in a way that is metaphysically impossible for a real person, or even a TV character. By taking the “intrinsic perspective” on the world, novels can refer to conscious experiences as directly as they can refer to physical events. 

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