Study Questions for Lakoff, The Political Mind, Chapter 1

Prepared by Dr. Jan Garrett

Last modification date: July 22, 2009

1. What are frames? Can we think without them? How are roles related to frames? (22)

2. What did Charles Fillmore discover? (22)

3. Explain the claim that physically grasping an object has a frame structure. (23)

4. What does it mean to say that simple narratives are frame based but with extra structure? (23)

5. What makes narrative frames cultural? (23-24)

6. Why do a lot of narratives seem similar? (24)

7. To what three questions does "neural binding" supply "the answer"? What is neural binding? What does it seem to be when considered in terms of neural pathways? (24-25)

8. What are long-term bindings? Short-term bindings? Which are most active when we are using creative imagination to consider new possibilities? (26)

9. Note the seven part structure of the simplest narrative. How does this structure apply to elections? Or use another example from your own experience. (26-27)

10. What three functions can the same event structure circuitry make possible? (27)

11. How does neural binding create emotional experiences? (27-28)

12. What are "somatic markers" and what do they achieve? (28)

13. What are the main parts of the Rags to Riches narrative? (29) What extension of it do politicians sometimes use, as did Anna Nicole Smith? Explain. (29)

14. What two narratives were culturally available for interpreting the events of ANS's marriage to billionaire J. Howard Marshall? (30)

15. What is the Women's Lot narrative? Can it be combined with Rags to Riches? What several roles are available for the protagonist? What options are available for defining success? (30)

16. Can one person interpret her role in the Women's Lot narrative in terms of both Innocent Ingenue and Calculating Bitch? (31)

17. What other version of Women's Lot seems to have fit her life? (31)

18. Did she ever fit the Nothing Succeeds Like Success narrative? How was she linked with three more cultural narratives as a result of what happened to her son? With the Live Fast Die Young narrative? What two narratives were invoked in connection with the paternity trial with regard to her daughter? (32)

19. Why was ANS a mythic figure? Why did many women identify with her? (33)

20. What does it mean that we recognize cultural narratives and frames? When do we start to acquire them? (33) Can many deep narratives be activated together? Can we understand ourselves without reflecting about cultural narratives? (34)

21. How is this relevant to how we understand politicians, celebrities, and even nonfamous people we encounter in our daily lives? (34) Do these deep narratives have to be conscious for us to employ them? (34)

22. What is Lakoff's point about feminism and culturally available narratives? (35)

23. What narrative did George W. Bush seek to embody in his political rise? (35)

24. What will (or needs to) happen in what Lakoff calls the "New Enlightenment"? (36)

25. What do torturers seem to understand about the importance of narrative?(36)

26. What narratives were invoked in the run-up to the first Gulf War? (36-37) What do people who accept a particular narrative do with realities that contradict it? How does the situation prior to Gulf War I illustrate this? (37)

27. What narratives were used during and shortly in connection with the second Iraq war? Why was there a shift? How were the two narratives similar? (37-38)

28. How does Lakoff explain the popularity of so-called Reality TV and Internet based groups like (38) What apparently distinct mental and physical operations use the same parts of the brain? (39)

29. What parts of the brain (and body) are linked by mirror neuron circuits? What human activities and experiences are thereby connected? (39-40) How is it that September 11, 2001 aroused visceral fear in people thousands of miles away? (40)

30. Why was the G.W. Bush administration able to be so successful "in making yesterday's political imagination tomorrow's reality" in the period 2002-2005 without most Americans noticing? (41)

31. What do the three front-page news items mentioned on p. 42 all have in common? Why didn't most people understand that? What conception of reason prevented Democratic Party leaders from seeing the connection? (42)