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Further Research Implications


Empirical study of narrative’s treatment in business writing and technical writing and neural dynamics of it therein could include both analyses of texts and audience responses. I would encourage a survey of responses to various persuasive messages on a national level. Local surveys of professionals, for example, would likely attest to the geographic demographic attitudes, which could be observed statistically, identifying patterns in neural plasticity in local regions. A national survey would provide an aggregate of these observations toward identifying general responses/ perceptions of such messages.

Interdisciplinary research is a challenge at many institutions; however, I encourage writing and rhetoric faculty to engage in research with neurobiologists or cognitive psychologists who may have access to fMRI machines or EEG technologies. Such research could identify more specific neural responses associated with various kinds of messages and demographic as well as psychographic attributes of the viewer. Some marketing companies do this for companies; however, scholarship that reports on such experimentation would make the information more public and useful in instruction.

Some scholarship on the rhetoric of dress already exists, but much of it is within communication studies research. Consequently, it is possible to look into the connections between dress and persuasion further through interdisciplinary research. Again, though fMRI scans, researchers can present videos of people in various dress making persuasive pitches and ask them to consider which were more persuasive.

Composition instructors use narrative in general writing classes to help students practice basic writing skills by engaging them in writing about something they know and understand most—their own experiences. Many institutions include multimodal composing within composition coursework to expose students to various composing technologies and give them practice using those tools. Pedagogy beyond the composition level tends to undervalue explicit treatment of narrative in favor of implicit instruction, showing forms of narrative in examples of reports and other messages. However, explicit instruction in narrative as a rhetorical tool that includes discussion of neural dynamics associated with particular messages could enhance learning how to apply it in professional settings.

Blyler and Perkins (1999a and 1999b) as well as Rentz (1992) assert that narrative acts as a rhetorical tool for use in business writing and technical writing settings, and Blyler (1995) and Jameson (2004) acknowledge the value of narrative as a tool to help students understand discourse in professional settings and as a tool for ethnographic study. Professionals use narrative in their communications, and this use can vary from print-linguistic to multimodal. So, instruction in persuasive rhetoric should include discussion of neural dynamics of multimodal messages.

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