Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterEncyclopedia chapterResearchpeer-review


The text discusses the importance of narrative strategies and their relationship to scientific precision in the context of biomedicine. Narrative is frequently equated with fiction and thus understood as antithetical to scientific truth. The article counters these simplifying views by unpacking both the fact/fiction discussion and the functional properties of narrativity. It presents positions ranging from narratology to philosophy of mind that identify the distinction between fact and fiction as rooted not in essential difference, but in communicative conventions and preferences for certain linguistic modes. With regard to narrativity, it discusses several approaches to (story-)telling that outline how it is a tool for cognitive accessibility, regardless of subject matter. A certain degree of narrative structuring of information has been shown to create contextualization and coherence that greatly improve comprehension and memory retention. Furthermore, the article shows how narrative allows for the production of critical distance through the use of self- and meta-referential strategies, actively provoking engagement with otherwise easily ignored contexts and discourses.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Popular Culture and Biomedicine : Knowledge in the Life Sciences as Cultural Artefact
EditorsArno Görgen, Heiner Fangerau, German Alfonso Nunez
Place of PublicationHeidelberg
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-90676-8
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-90677-5
Publication statusPublished - 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Narrative'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this