Drama and Intelligence

Drama and Intelligence: A Cognitive Theory

RICHARD COURTNEY
Copyright Date: 1990
Pages: 208
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt130hhmp
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  • Book Info
    Drama and Intelligence
    Book Description:

    Drama, as defined by Courtney, encompasses all kinds of dramatic action, from children's play to social roles and theatre. He shows not only that teachers have found educational drama and spontaneous improvisation to be an invaluable learning tool but that many skills required for work and leisure reflect the theatrical ability to "read" others and see things from their point of view.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6253-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
    R.C.
  4. Figures
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. INTRODUCTION: Drama and Intelligence
    (pp. 3-10)

    “Drama and Intelligence? Are you joking? Everyone knows that the arts are frills!” A colleague said this when I told him I was writing this book. I was not surprised. In the Western world, drama and the arts do not seem to be very intellectual, at least on the surface. Our societies encourage the image of the romantic artist who acts through inspiration and starves. But most other people spend their time earning money to buy objects that will make their lives easier. From this view, at least, my colleague was not wrong: Drama does not, at first sight, look...

  6. CHAPTER ONE Drama and Fiction
    (pp. 11-21)

    Imagining and acting are things people do. They are highly complex activities that are not separate as we “live through” them, as we feel them to be. In our experience, they are a unity.

    When we think and act dramatically we create a fiction. But this fiction is not false; it is not a lie. It has a cognitive purpose. It is a way of looking at the environment that complements the actual world and, in so doing, it provides us with a new perspective on it. If we put the two together, the actual and the fictional, our understanding...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Drama and Cognitive Processes
    (pp. 22-34)

    Does dramatic activity improve our thinking? What do we know from it? Is this different from other ways in which we know? This is to raise two issues: that of cognition (how we think), and that of learning (how we can improve our intelligence).

    Knowingis a confusing word. Much is clarified if we ask: What does my knowing mean to me? What is it that I then have? When I know I am certain. But some people say they know things that, to you or me, are patently false. Then we might say, “They think theyknowsomething but...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Cognitive Worlds
    (pp. 35-49)

    Cognition separates truth from falsehood, develops and changes concepts, assimilates information, and uses mental frameworks so that we can make sense of our experiences. When we talk of brain cells being connected at synapses, we describe aspects of human physiology. Alternatively we can discuss “mind”, where we can picture cognition as groups of activities. The latter are worlds, one of which is our dramatic world.

    My actual world is the way I think about and act with the total environment as I know it to be – as I eat my lunch or contemplate a sunset. This is the actual....

  9. CHAPTER FOUR The Dramatic World
    (pp. 50-64)

    What are the inner workings of our dramatic world? How do we dramatize the actual and make it into a fictional world that operates in the ways we have discussed? In this chapter, we will examine these questions from three perspectives: first, the personal, the internal mental processes that are involved; second, the mediate processes that relate mind to the external world; and third, the external processes that affect how we create such worlds.

    We create a dramatic world that provides a valid perspective on the actual world. The dramatic world expresses what players cognitively know, believe, and understand of...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE The Dramatic Metaphor
    (pp. 65-80)

    Metaphor is the imaginative root of dramatic action. In the mind, groups of imaginings constitute fictional worlds that have a metaphoric character; these worlds project metaphors through dramatic acts. That is to say, a metaphoric thought is expressed through the medium of dramatic action. But, as we shall see in chapter 8, once a thought is put into action it may or may not remain metaphoric.

    In simple terms, a metaphor combines two thoughts in order to create a new meaning. Often mistakenly thought of as only existing in language, the metaphor is inherent in human thought and can be...

  11. CHAPTER SIX Drama and Logic
    (pp. 81-93)

    If we make cognitive sense out of our experience by comparing what is actual and fictional, how do we ensure that we gain the “right” meaning? This is a question of logic. Whereas the Victorians thought classical logic was the only kind, and that it provided absolute truth, contemporary logicians work with several kinds of logic. Each kind provides what is right for a particular framework. From this perspective we must ask, in imaginative thought and dramatic action, what form or forms of logic can we use? Do these differ when we talk about it?

    These questions are complicated by...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN Drama and Intuition
    (pp. 94-108)

    Perhaps the most neglected area of cognition and intelligence is intuition. The popular view holds that intuition, whether it be guessing or playing a hunch, having an inspiration or just being lucky, has little to do with intelligence. Yet those people who cultivate their intuition usually feel more successful in their tasks than those who do not.

    In all societies one group that relies on intuition is artists and creative arts teachers. Both explicitly and implicitly, their talk about art, how they teach, and how they and their students learn focuses on the intuitive. Our research shows that theatre artists...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT Drama and Symbol
    (pp. 109-125)

    It is commonly said that a major factor of intelligence is the growth of symbolic thought. What are symbols? What is symbolic thought and how is it different from metaphoric thought? What is the relation of symbolic thought to dramatic action?

    I have previously examined the nature of symbols inPlay, Drama and Thought, so here I will relate their nature to cognition and intelligence. Symbols are a cognitive tool: they amplify meaning; they signify various things at the same time; and moreover, they mean different things to different people. Although signs and symbols are similar, they are not synonymous....

  14. CHAPTER NINE Drama and Performance
    (pp. 126-137)

    The issues we have discussed so far in this book can be reframed in terms of human performance to provide us with a new cognitive perspective. Performance can range from the informal and spontaneous, as in dramatic play or happenings on the one hand, to formal and carefully prepared actions, as in ritual and theatre on the other. These are general categories; many activities fall somewhere in between them. What kinds of cognition and intelligence do these categories reveal?

    Practical dramatic actions in informal and formal performances share some uses of intelligence but not all. The dramatic is the aesthetic...

  15. CHAPTER TEN Drama and Human Learning
    (pp. 138-148)

    Learning is change, it is said. That is, learning is exhibited by a change in actions. From the perspective of this book, learning is a change in the imaginative/thinking process that becomes externalized in dramatic action. Change within the learner (the signified) affects the signifier. Learning is a signified that affects all subsequent actions. Those concerned with the improvement of cognition and intelligence focus their interest here. Aesthetic learning is a change in feeling, choice, and judgment, and the ability to work with the actual/fictional. This is a paramount process in cognition and intelligence. It distinguishes our species from others;...

  16. CHAPTER ELEVEN Drama and Dialogue
    (pp. 149-158)

    Dialogue relates to drama practically and theoretically. Practical dialogue is the words players say to each other in a performance – ordialogue as mutual talk. Theoretically, dialogue is how people function with others – ordialogue as mutuality. This chapter addresses the latter.

    We have already seen that dialogue activates two initial structures, the vaunt and the proposition; that drama/speech is the closest expressive media can come to Being; and that dialogue is inherent in any form of dramatic relationship. These factors raise three major issues: (1) dialogue versus dialectic; (2) interpretation (the experiences of the member of an...

  17. CHAPTER TWELVE In Conclusion
    (pp. 159-164)

    I have used a cognitive theory to show that the actor on a stage, the person in an audience, the child at play, the improviser, the man or woman on the street – all are in the continual process of improving their cognitive abilities and therefore they are trying to fulfil their intellectual potential. I am aware that, as given here, the theory is incomplete. A gardener can only grow flowers and vegetables in their proper season; I have primarily addressed the intelligence of dramatic action because that is the main concern in the field today.

    If I were a...

  18. Notes
    (pp. 165-182)
  19. Index
    (pp. 183-190)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 191-192)