In this series of interviews, we will present the keynote speakers at the IGEL Conference 2018.
Dr. Raymond A. Mar is an associate professor at York University.
In your keynote, you’ll be talking about literary reading and social cognition. Could you explain what “social cognition” entails?
Absolutely. Social cognition is a bit of an umbrella term, referring to a suite of cognitive processes that help us to successfully interact with our peers in the social world. This means everything from inferring what people are thinking and feeling, to building up models or representations of our close friends and their unique personalities.
What brought you to studying the links between reading narratives and social cognition?
I was an avid reader growing up, but it was only during the last year of my undergraduate degree in psychology that I came upon the psychology of reading. Unexpectedly, it was a course in the humanities–on rhetorical perspectives toward fiction–that really motivated me to explore what sort of psychological research had been done on reading. From there, I discovered the work of so many brilliant researchers who have inspired and influenced me to pursue this work (many of whom belong to IGEL).
What, in your perspective, is the importance of IGEL?
IGEL is near and dear to my heart because it was the first place where I felt there was an entire community of researchers interested in the same things that I was curious about.
What are your expectations for the IGEL Conference 2018?
I’m very much looking forward to seeing old friends and catching up with them on what they’ve been working on. And, of course, exploring all that Stavanger has to offer!