A Cognitive Framework for Understanding Counterintuitive Stories

Author M. Afzal Upal

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M. Afzal Upal

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M. Afzal Upal. A Cognitive Framework for Understanding Counterintuitive Stories. In 2014 Workshop on Computational Models of Narrative. Open Access Series in Informatics (OASIcs), Volume 41, pp. 222-240, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2014)


Stories containing counterintuitive concepts are prevalent in a variety of cultural forms including folktales, TV and radio commercials, and religious parables. Cognitive scientists such as Boyer suggest that this may be because counterintuitive concepts are surprising and more memorable for people and therefore are more likely to become widespread in a culture. How and why people remember such concepts has been subject of some debate. This paper presents studies designed to test predictions of the context-based model of counterintuitive story understanding.
  • counterintuitive concepts
  • memory


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