School of English

Image of Alice Haines

Alice Haines

Research Student,


Research Summary

Current Status

PhD (full-time) - currently registered

Research Topic

A cognitive poetic model of humour in fiction

Research Summary

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.

Research Interests

  • Cognitive poetics
  • Stylistics
  • Humour
  • Sociolinguistics

Research Supervisors

Prof. Peter Stockwell

Dr Kevin Harvey

Primary Funding Source

AHRC Midlands3Cities DTP Studentship

Research Institutes, Centres and / or Research Clusters Memberships

Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics (CRAL)

School of English

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