Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

merlin's picture

In psychology class, i

In psychology class, i recently learned about decision-making in the context of the court room. In a model of jury decision-making known as the 'story model,' the individual juror constructs a story to explain the pieces of information at hand using prior life experience, attitudes and viewpoints, and other such extraneous information. Regardless of whether or not the jurors are instructed to postpone interpretation, it is oftentimes the case that they do not come to conclusions only after hearing all the evidence. Inference and interpretation are both natural, automatic responses in the thought process and we construct stories to make sence of our surroundings each and every day, it is just a part of our cognition. So, although sontag is against interpretation, I feel as though her mention of the topic can be related to the judge telling jury members to hear all evidence before reaching a conclusion. We hear what she is saying and even understand its importance, but cant help but construct that story. It is good to understand this downside to interpretation and how, in english class, an art galery, a court room, or on the sidewalk, the way we process information is what allows us to make sense of what is around us. One particular drawback of story construction is that oftentimes we miss bits and pieces of information which our minds do not weave into the story. Maybe they seem insignificant at the time, but later on, it can be suprising how much we don't remember, or even misremember. Maybe this is why we reread stories. If we were completely non-interpretive, as Sontag suggests, than maybe lack of story-construction would lead to a less biased way of analyzing that which is before us. But interpretation and analysis seem to be just what allows us to understand. It seems that interpretation is closely linked with cognition. Would we actually remeber less at the end had we not constructed a story in our minds? because story construction allows us to deal with and later remember the information before us, maybe lack of interpretation would acutally have an inhibiting effect in the long run.


To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
8 + 12 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.