n. A literary genre in which the characters' behavior and motivation is explained by neuroscience, particularly brain disorders.
Thus far, most 'neuronovels' have focused on characters with a disorder. Perhaps in the near future we can read about a 'diagnose-free' [sic] character whose whole life is explained in terms of neurons firing?
Negative criticism is particularly exciting, not only because of schadenfreude, but because once limitations are identified, we glimpse how to transcend them. Learning the shortcomings of today’s neuronovel, we catch sight of the psychological novel of the future: a novel expressive of the problems we have now, including the encroachment of cognitive science into the concept of the self. When this novel appears, it will be because some people wrote neuronovels and books like "Proust Was a Neuroscientist" and others identified the ways in which these works captivated us but failed to describe human existence.
What makes so many writers try their hands and brains at the neuronovel? At the most obvious level, the trend follows a cultural (and, in psychology proper, a disciplinary) shift away from environmental and relational theories of personality back to the study of brains themselves, as the source of who we are.
A jaunty wave of thanks to Karen H for spying this word.