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Directions for Future Growth

Earlier in this chapter, I identified ways that interdisciplinary research that integrated the model could enhance education and training as well as facilitate developments in pharmaceutical treatments. Here I suggest paths that scholarship may take to develop the model proposed in this book more fully. I mentioned in the Preface that the model is an early effort at finding a means by which interdisciplinary research can occur. I also indicated that the model is descriptive. It describes various attributes of cognition of any new information, but I recognize that it is not comprehensive.

Because it is in its infancy, it has room to grow and develop. I encourage scholars to pursue development of it likewise, crossing their own disciplinary boundaries by conducting research with scholars in other disciplines or applying it to their own research as I have, toward adding attributes to this model so it may represent a more comprehensive model of cognition.

Some questions emerge to guide further examination and development of the model. I ask researchers to consider their own disciplinary theories and how they may be integrated into the new model. I have characterized connections between the multimodal rhetoric and neurobiology of cognition, and I open the door to other consideration with these questions:

  • 1 What principles of the model presented here seem similar to attributes of theories of cognition and persuasion in other field(s)?
  • 2 Can such attributes be merged with the particular principles of the model to explain more fully that particular principle’s relationship to cognition of new information?
  • 3 Does a new nomenclature need to be developed, or can existing terms from different fields be used and synthesized, as the term “multimodal” was able to be synthesized between “multimodal rhetoric” and “multimodal integration,” to characterize principles of multimodality here?
  • 4 What attributes of cognition are not identified yet within the model? Does a new principle need to be added, or can one be developed further? That is, do some principles require sub-principles? The principles I provided carry over from my discussion of the model relative to instructional materials; do they need to be changed at all given a different rhetorical purpose?

Related to Question 1, I would consider how the model may apply to Toulmin’s (2003) model of argument. Are the two mutually exclusive or can principals from both be integrated? I would respond that they can be integrated into a single analysis. I do not include a chapter or application related to that in this book; however, it is something that one could pursue further; how prior experience, for example, affects “backing” within an argument, or how certain data are valued or not because of how that data may be perceived relative to how it is presented or due to one’s experiences. How do factors associated with this model affect cognition and the structure of an argument within Toulmin’s model?

Particularly related to Question 4, can the principle of prior experience adequately address cultural attributes of language and cognition, or does a new principle need to be added to the model to address such attributes?

The kinds of interdisciplinary research that I have suggested can address these questions. Ultimately, the improvements made to persuasive messages and one’s understanding of reality are what matter most, but an integrated model will enable researchers to consider the many attributes of cognition better toward developing those materials and improving comprehension.

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