chapter  10
4 Pages


As I indicated in Chapter 1, the cognitive experience includes biological as well as social dynamics. Cognitive science and the field of rhetoric generally recognize these attributes of cognition-social and biological attributes related to facili - tating an understanding of our world. Disciplinary boundaries have compromised the discussion of these cognitive neuroscience dynamics. I have attempted to cross these boundaries in this book with this model. With a model that integrates social and neurobiological attributes of rhetoric to describe the ways our brain processes multimodal information toward cognition, I encourage further studies that combine these once-competing perspectives. Rhetoric considers how an audience reacts relative to the way information is presented. One designs a message to facilitate a certain response from an audience. As Aristotle (1991) and Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca (1969) acknowledged, the way a message is conveyed must consider the audience’s disposition in order to accomplish its purpose, and this disposition includes one’s social disposition or biological/physical disposition. Indeed, Aristotle noted that this likely involves an audience that may have “limited intellectual scope and limited capacity to follow an extended chain of reasoning” (p. 76). If the audience’s cognitive capacities are not considered in developing the message, the meaning of the message will be lost. This model attempts to take into consideration both biological and social dimensions of cognition. Neural process studies help to explain some of the biological attributes con - nected to findings of multimodal scholarship, that is, they help us understand why, from a biological perspective, certain multimodal products facilitate a better understanding of information than other multimodal products. The model I presented in Chapter 3 integrates what I consider to be the five attributes involved in cognition and that are affected by biological and social dynamics. The sixth attribute-medium-frames how one can design a message. This model is shown again in Figure 10.1. As mentioned in previous chapters, the fields of rhetoric and neurobiology tend to examine multimodal and multisensory experiences differently, using different

tools especially. While rhetoric studies tend to focus attention on composition and observed behaviors or surveys of audience perception of content, neuro biological studies focus on particular neuron behaviors inside the brain based on biomedical technologies. However, these neurobiological studies involve analysis of such activity relative to certain stimuli. Rhetoric can contribute to such studies, and the field of rhetoric can benefit from integrated studies like wise. Interdisciplinary research, facilitated by a model that engages the scholar ship of multiple disciplines, can help with the development of better instructional designs and tools. In each chapter of this book, in addition to citing specific studies, I alluded to varying degrees to events relatively common in our daily lives. Given how often we encounter multimodal information that our brain tries to process toward cognition, it is troubling to know that comprehensive study of such

dynamics is hindered by the disciplinary divisions I have mentioned. The model I have presented in this book is a way to synthesize scholarship in the different fields productively. Through synthesizing multimodal rhetorical theory with what is understood about how the mind processes information related to learning tasks and concepts relative to its use of blood, it is possible to refine that theory as it pertains specifically to training/instruction and process improvement, two topics of con - siderable interest in both industry and education. Examples of potential studies include ascertaining how the brain processes certain modal combinations; rhetoric scholars can design these combinations and use common approaches in social science research to contribute data to joint studies. Studies that include both biomedical technologies as well as social science research methods such as surveys and interviews with participants as well as observation and quasi-experimental designs can triangulate each other. In Chapters 3 and 4, I detailed the new model, and I provided descriptive analyses of cases related to it in Chapters 5-8. Such analyses encourage further study via an interdisciplinary approach that can inform development of edu - cational materials and workplace training. Chapter 5, in particular, featured a detailed case study of the Training Within Industry (TWI) program, which is esteemed presently in the lean operating and continuous improvement movements in business and industry. The other chapters considered digital media commonly used in education and training. There are grants available through the National Institute for Humanities as well as foundations commonly associated with biomedical science research such as the National Science Foundation. Joint research can facilitate triangulation of information, leading to development of effective instructional materials that consider a population’s disposition. Finally, I argue for further study into the neuroscience of learning and multimodal designs that facilitate learning and for a closer connection between neuroscience and multimodal rhetoric scholarship.