Title 4 – KQ 4: How do various Ways of Knowing work during “ suspension of disbelief”?





Norman N. Hollandauthor of Literature and the Brain, explains “ Suspension of Disbelief” as , “Although we know a fair amount about the brain activity linked with reading, no one has isolated the mechanisms tied specifically to suspension of disbelief. Yet we can extrapolate how the brain behaves on a more general level.

Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge asked readers of his fantastical poems, including The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, to give him “that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith.” That phrase, “poetic faith,” encapsulates what our brain is doing. It isn’t that we stop disbelieving—it’s that we believe two inconsistent things.”


Relating the interplay of Reason and Sense Perception with Suspension of DisBelief Norman further says, “Action is the key. When we are reading a story or watching a movie, we know that we cannot or will not act to change what is occurring, a phenomenon philosopher Immanuel Kant called disinterestedness. Yet because we are not going to act, the brain economizes. We turn off the neural processes that tell us we might need to do something about what we are seeing. The prefrontal cortex does not try to assess the reality of what we are seeing, nor does it trigger motor impulses.”

The Suspension of Disbelief lets the Imagination take charge . “Losing ourselves refers to another element of poetic faith, when the audience is, in the psychologists’ term, “transported.” We cease to be aware of our body, our posture or our environment. Perhaps most important, our limbic system causes us to feel emotions—anger, disgust, jealousy, desire, fear—about the stories we are watching or reading. Being transported emotionally into an alternative reality helps us to invest more completely in a piece of fiction, no matter how unbelievable.”


When applying only Reason or critical thinking faculties or the why and wherefore, complex approaches bring in multiple, entangled dimensions that are difficult to isolate and comprehend. A complex approach packed with too many variables, contingencies, and undefined areas results in only witnessing chaos. The difficulty in identification and recognition blocks us from discerning and deciphering the knowledge content and thus demotivating us to pursue it any further. “ Suspension of Belief” combined with Imagination and Intuition steers us ahead.

Rex Jung , neuropsychologist and creativity researcher, through his research suggests that when you want to loosen your associations, allow your mind to roam free, imagine new possibilities, and silence the inner critic, it’s good to reduce activation of the Executive Attention Network (a bit, but not completely) and increase activation of the Imagination and Salience Networks. Indeed, recent research on jazz musicians and rappers engaging in creative improvisation suggests that’s precisely what is happening in the brain while in a flow state.”


A number of other research findings also show that creative cognition recruits brain regions that are critical for daydreaming, imagining , remembering ,  internal reflection, understanding , and pattern recognition.


Creativity enables to connect exisitng ideas and experiences to synthesize new things. Neuroscientist Dr. Vilayanur S. (V.S.) Ramachandran while exploring excess connections in the brains relating to synesthetes and creative individuals found that “Synesthesia , a neurological trait that combines two or more senses, is eight times more common in artists, poets, and novelists and they are all very good in linking seemingly unrelated ideas, concepts, or thoughts – the basis of creativity”


For highly creative individuals , the presence of high associative memory , ability to make more connections and have deeper understanding results in acheiving an efficient and effective Knowledge production.













Rex Jung – Creativity and the Brain