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Name: Alice Haines

PhD: Applied Linguistics

Thesis Title: A cognitive poetic model of humour in fiction


Thesis Description:

I am researching humour in fiction and the effect this has on reader-character relationships. Research into humour has tended to treat it as a cognitive phenomenon largely based on the detection of incongruity or on a feeling of superiority to the person found amusing, or has treated it as a social phenomenon involved in the development of group cohesion and the distancing of that group from others. I believe that a theory of humour can only be considered adequate if it takes into account the social context in which it occurs and the social displacement effects that it has, in addition to explaining how it is recognised as humour.

To this end, I am developing a spatial model of humour that links the cognition of humour to its social distancing and cohesion effects. By examining humour in contemporary fictional texts, and using a cognitive poetic approach, I aim to show how the linguistic construction of humour metaphorically displaces readers in a way that reflects the way humour affects their emotional proximity to or distance from characters in the text.


Supervisors and Institution(s):

Prof. Peter Stockwell (University of Nottingham)

Dr Kevin Harvey (University of Nottingham)


Research Interests:

  • Cognitive poetics
  • Stylistics
  • Humour
  • Sociolinguistics



University email address:


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