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BEMI 2021 : Being Moved to Interest: Interestingness, Emotions and 4E Cognition.


When N/A
Where Call for Book Chapters
Submission Deadline Nov 15, 2021
Notification Due Feb 15, 2022
Final Version Due Sep 15, 2022
Categories    cognitive linguistics   pragmatist philosophy   4e cognition   embodiment and emotion

Call For Papers

Title: “Being Moved to Interest”: Interestingness, Emotions and 4E Cognition.

In his work “Story Processing as an Emotion Episode”, Ed Tan (1994) considers interest to be an anticipatory emotion. According to Tan (1994), interest consists of an inclination to further elaborate the stimulus in anticipation of the final interpretation of the text. More precisely, the author remarks that interest contributes to leading the reader to include into the final interpretation of a text the emotion-laden anticipation or narrated event he/she encounters while reading a story. In other words, interest is the emotion that is considered to cause attention to focus on a narrated event or, in more general terms, on events and objects. Fredrickson (2001) describes interest as the feeling when “something new or different draws your attention, filling you with a sense of possibility.” It is the emotion we feel when we're drawn to “explore” and the sensation of being “utterly fascinated.” It is acknowledged that interest is both a psychological state of attention and affect toward a particular object or topic, and an enduring predisposition to reengage over time. Promoting interest can contribute to a more engaged, motivated, learning experience in education, for example (Harackiewicz et al. 2016). Being in a state of interest means that affective reactions, perceived values, and cognitive functioning intertwine, and that attention and learning feel effortless (Dewey, 1913). What exactly is deemed to be of interest is a challenging question. In his contribution “Interestingness: Controlling Inferences”, computer scientist Roger Schank (1979) remarks that when readers find something in a text which is unusual they recognize it as being interesting and pay attention to it. Schank goes a step further and points out that the mental pathway the reader follows to understand a story is controlled by interestingness. In general, interestingness is directly proportional to abnormality. Thus, the more features of a given situation deviate from normally expected features in that situation, the more interesting the situation becomes. In fields like literary studies in which scholars work on the interaction between the text and its stylistic devices and the reader the foregrounding theory as well as the notion of deviation by Russian Formalism can be combined with Schank’s work to investigate interest as an anticipatory emotion in readers (Scarinzi 2008). The question of what determines interest in readers while reading a text of literary art is a particularly intriguing question. In his study, Schraw (1997) shows that “multiple aspects of literary texts are interesting to readers, and that interest is related to personal engagement variables, even when it is not related to the comprehension of main ideas.”

More than forty years later, Schank's remarks on interestingness have become an important field in data mining research as well. Measuring interestingness in data mining is intended for selecting and ranking patterns according to their potential interest to the user (Geng & Hamilton 2006).

Despite studies about the role of the body in cognition, affectivity and emotions, research on interest and interestingness still neglects the role of the embodied, embedded, extended, enacted and affective mind (4E cognition with embodied affectivity). Also, the advancement of research on embodied and enactive emotions (Colombetti 2013) and the relation between movement and emotions (“e-motions”) according to which emotion emerges as a specific form of bodily directedness towards the valences and affordances of a given situation in the engagement with the environment that has affect-like properties (Fuchs & Koch 2014) have not been taken into account.

This call aims at focusing on the question of how 4E Cognition combined with the enactive and embodied approach to emotions can contribute to developing an approach to interest that focuses on the fact that the human being is “moved to interest” and does not need any computation to experience it.

We welcome contributions (single author or co-authored) investigating the following topics:

· Interest – The History of a Cross-Disciplinary Keyword

· John Dewey’s view on interest in education and learning

· Interest and (Affective) Affordances

· Virtual Bodies, Virtual Reality, the Self and Interest

· The Relation between Interest and Habits or the Perturbation of Habits

· Interest in the Flesh: Cognitive Linguistics, Language and Embodied Sense-Making

· Interest and Literary Text Comprehension: Insights from Research on Reader Response and the Embodied Mind

· The Notion of “Interest” in Sociology and the Role of the Embodied Mind

· Interest and The Embodied Aesthetic Mind

· Data Mining and Interestingness: Making Predictions. The User’s Embodied Mind

· Quantitative and Qualitative Methods to Investigate Interest: 4E Cognition and Interesting Experiences

If you are interested to contribute, send your abstract (max. 500 words with three main references) not later than 15th November 2021 to alfonsina.scarinzi[at] or to alfonsinascarinzi[at]


Colombetti, G. (2013). The Feeling Body. Affective Science Meets the Enactive Mind. MIT Press.

Dewey J. (1913). Interest and Effort in Education. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Fredrickson B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology. The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. The American Psychologist, 56(3), 218–226.

Fuchs, T. & Koch S. (2014). Embodied Affectivity. On Moving and Being Moved.

Geng, L. & Hamilton, H. (2006). Interestingness measures for data mining: A survey. ACM Computing Surveys. Volume 38, Issue 32

Harackiewicz, J. M., Smith, J. L., & Priniski, S. J. (2016). Interest Matters: The Importance of Promoting Interest in Education. Policy insights from the behavioral and brain sciences, 3(2), 220–227.

Scarinzi, A. (2008). Evoking Interest, Evoking Meaning: The Literary Theme and the Cognitive Function of Stylistic Devices. In G. Watson (ed.), The State of Stylistics. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 137 – 153. (PALA Papers)

Schank, R. (1979). Interestingness: Controlling Inferences. Artificial Intelligence, 12, 3, 273 –297.

Schraw, Gregory (1997). Situational Interest in Literary Text. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 22, 4, 436 – 456.

Tan, Ed (1994). Story Processing as an Emotion Episode. In H. Oosterndorp & R. A. Zwaan (eds.), Naturalistic Text Comprehension, Norwood, N. J.: Ablex Publishing Corporation, 165 – 185.

Alfonsina Scarinzi, PhD

Senior Researcher and Visiting Professor

CA Institute for Advanced Studies

CY Cergy Paris Université (France)

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