NAR-Project "Narration and Alzheimer Dementia"
In research on social cognition, the relationship between mentalization and narrative competence has been long known.Today, in many social cognitive neuroscientific and narrative cultural, developmental psychology theories, narratives are considered a storage of knowledge-, communication- and social behaviour patterns as well as society simulators and training rooms of social cognitive practices.
Stories combine and link people and their brains as relationship organs in a mutual, narrative coded area of meaning, and also fulfil basal functions of a neuronal organisation and integration of motor, affective, cognitive and social modular networks and systems in or between brains.
In order to be able to construct and understand narratives, to perceive the mental-cognitive, emotional, spatial and chronological levels of narrated worlds, to go on a mental journey through time and empathize with the narrative perspective and logic of a story, the healthy brain must have highly developed and perfectly functioning narrative- and mentalization competences. Only then can a healthy human being develop a identification/ self-image compatible with his bio- psycho-social-cultural environment and thereby find his way in his narrative coded world. So the healthy brain is also a perfectly functioning narrative brain.
In many diseases of the brain (in our study we focus on Autism and Alzheimer’s Disease), the deficits of social cognition are basically traced back to a limited mentalization ability. Due to an impaired social-cognitive- and narrative competence, the unreliably functioning brain is therefore also a dysnarrative brain.
Because of this intellectual context, I will explain the relation between “Narration and Alzheimer’s Disease” in my research project within the NAR. First of all, I am introducing an attempt of a neuro-anatomical, psychological explanation of the impaired approach on the dysnarrative brain to narrative, discourse pragmatic and meta-discourse practices in various developmental psychological phases of a complete lifespan. My study also obtains principle criticism on the approach of the popular “Theories of Mind” in the current research on social cognition. In connection to the mentalization- and narration competence deficits, a particular emphasis is on the analysis of the narrative mask, the disorder of narrative identity, security and reminiscence in older age in general, and in Alzheimer’s disease in particular. Finally, I am trying to develop the very interesting research potential that the study on impairment of mentalization- and narrative competence in people with Alzheimer’s disease implicates, for many questions of clinical neurolinguistics an narrative gerontopsychiatry as well as non-medication therapy- and rehabilitation of Alzheimer’s Disease research. The long-term goal of the project is elaboration of a theoretical basis for building bridges from geronto- narratology to Alzheimer’s Disease narratology as well as the development of a narrative therapy for people with Alzheimer’s disease.