The Beauty of Words: A Neurocognitive Poetics Perspective

In this paper I would like to pave the ground for future studies in Computational Stylistics and (Neuro-)Cognitive Poetics by describing procedures for predicting the subjective beauty of words. A set of eight tentative word features is computed via Quantitative Narrative Analysis (QNA) and a novel metric for quantifying word beauty, the aesthetic potential is proposed. Application of machine learning algorithms fed with this QNA data shows that a classifier of the decision tree family excellently learns to split words into beautiful vs. ugly ones. The results shed light on surface and semantic features theoretically relevant for affective-aesthetic processes in literary reading and generate quantitative predictions for neuroaesthetic studies of verbal materials.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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