Research coalitions

In recent years, IGEL has supported the formation of 21 research coalitions within our community. These coalitions are small groups of 3-8 researchers concerned with specific topics in empirical studies of literature (e.g., literary reading and social cognition, shared literary reading). These coalitions work together to prepare publications, training material or events on their research topic, most recently they formed the basis for the 21 chapters of the Handbook of Empirical Literary Studies.

On the left you can find all of our currently active research coalitions grouped per theme (i.e, Modes of Textual Representation; The Form and Function of Literariness; Social Effects of Literary Reading; Narrative Engagement and Experiential Depth; Enhanced Social Well-Being; History, Theory and Empirical Methods). For each coalition you can find its members, their most important publications on the topic, and some relevant resources.

If you would like to join a research coalition, please contact the specific research coalition’s coordinator

Submitting a Coalition Proposal

If you are interested in starting a new research coalition involving a small group of investigators with records of accomplishment in a specific research area, please send an email to Moniek Kuijpers (IGEL President) who, in turn, will present your proposal to the Board for consideration.

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Modes of Textual Representation

Effects of Foregrounding

Abstract

One of the central goals of the empirical study of literature is to determine the nature and function of literary reading. In this, researchers often attribute a decisive role to foregrounding, a phenomenon that occurs either when some aspect of a text is either some form of repetition or unusual in terms of some general norm (external deviation) or deviating from a pattern set up by the text itself (internal deviation). For some, it is key to their understanding of what constitutes literariness, or even art in general. The aim of the foregrounding research coalition is to foster the empirical study of foregrounding, in order to enhance our understanding of what literariness is.

For this we need to distinguish four approaches to the ontology of foregrounding: (1) foregrounding seen as textual procedures (also referred to as deviations and parallelism); (2) foregrounding considered as a phenomenon occurring in the perception of readers (i.e., noticing that something is different in comparison to its context); (3) readers’ experience of foregrounding; and (4) the effects of such experiences in the culture at large. These four conceptions are interdependent and interactive, but only to a degree. To start with, readers will only perceive a deviation if the relevant information about context is available to them (e.g., their knowledge of genre conventions). And if perceived, there are still a number of factors that determine whether and how they interpret the intentionality and purpose of the deviation or parallelism and the whether they experience foregrounding in the sense of an aesthetic or distinctly literary response (e.g., readers’ attitude toward literary values). The research in this coalition focuses on the second and third approach. However, in our interdisciplinary group we will also consider the first, for instance in the formulation of hypotheses, and explore implications for the fourth.

Thus, our research coalition represents (and brings together) a wide range of topics, such as, reader variables that predict susceptibility to foregrounding; the way the interplay between deviation and parallelism affects responses; the relationship between backgrounding and foregrounding, the relation between foregrounding and perceived meaningfulness; foregrounding in other media than literary texts (e.g., film and music).

Members

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Paul Sopčák

Lecturer in the English Department and Academic Integrity Coordinator, MacEwan University, Edmonton, Canada.

Paul’s interests include early modernist literature, the empirical study of literature, phenomenology, and existential philosophy. He is assistant editor for the journal Scientific Study of Literature (SSOL) and Secretary of the International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature (IGEL). His current research looks at the relationship between literary reading, empathy, and prejudice.

member

Davide Castiglione

Lecturer in English language and literature, Vilnius University, Lithuania

Davide teaches poetry, stylistics, and other linguistic disciplines. In his research on the stylistics of difficulty he has identified a checklist of linguistic indicators that tend to be foregrounded in difficult poems, thus favouring certain kinds of response over others. Belonging to all linguistic levels, but especially to semantics and pragmatics (discourse), these features are foregrounded both internally (e.g. they are highly salient in defining the texture of the given poem) and externally (e.g. they deviate from prototypical norms of language, both literary and non-literary).

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Winfried Menninghaus

Director, Department of Language and Literature, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics (Frankfurt am Main)

Previous appointments included professorships at Freie Universität Berlin, the universities of Berkeley, Yale, Princeton, Rice, Jerusalem, and the EHESS Paris. He is a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences. His fields of research include rhetoric and poetics; philosophical and empirical aesthetics; and literature from 1750 until present.

member

Willie van Peer

Emeritus professor of Literature and Intercultural Hermeneutics, Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany

Willie van Peer studied Germanic Philology in Flanders (Antwerpen, Leuven), received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from Lancaster University (G-B), and worked at the universities of Tilburg and Utrecht in the Netherlands and Munich University in Germany. He is a former President of IGEL and former Chair of PALA (Poetics and Linguistics Association). He is also a Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. He is the author of several books and articles on poetics and the epistemological foundations of literary studies, and initiated the empirical study of foregrounding with his 1986 book. He is also the founding General Editor of the IGEL journal Scientific Study of Literature.

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Frank Hakemulder

Assistant Professor, Department of Media and Culture Studies, Utrecht University, The Netherlands; Affiliated Full Professor at the Reading Center of Stavanger University, Norway

Frank has a background in literary theory and comparative literature. His research focuses on the effects of reading literary texts on outgroup attitudes and moral self-concept (e.g., The moral laboratory, 2000). He supervises two national research projects in the Netherlands: one pertaining to the experience of being absorbed in fictional worlds (Narrative Absorption, 2017), and the other on how such experiences affect social perception and self concepts (see www.finditinfiction.org). Currently he is investigating how literary reading gives readers a sense of meaningfulness in studies of text qualities (e.g., foregrounding), how readers are instructed to read, reading medium (screen versus paper), and how these interact to generate deeply absorbed, eudaemonic experiences.

Publications

  • Salgaro, M., & Sopčák, P., (Eds.). (2018). Empirical Studies of Literariness: A Special Issue. Scientific Study of Literature, 8(1), in preparation.
  • Sopčák, P. (2011). A numerically aided phenomenological study of existential reading. In F. Hakemulder (Ed.), De Stralende Lezer: Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Naar De Invloed Van Het Lezen (pp. 123-152). Den Haag: Stichting Lezen.
  • Wallot, S., & Menninghaus, W. (2018). Ambiguity effects of rhyme and meter. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xlm0000557
  • Hideyuki, H. & Menninghaus, W. (2018). The eye tracks the aesthetic appeal of sentences. Journal of Vision, 18(3), 19. https://doi.org/10.1167/18.3.19
  • Castiglione, D. (2018), Difficulty in Poetry: a Stylistic and Processing Model. Palgrave Macmillan, London.
  • Castiglione, D. (2017). Difficult poetry processing: Reading times and the narrativity hypothesis. Language and Literature, 26(2), 99-121. https://doi.org/0963947017704726
  • Wassiliwizky, E., Koelsch, S., Wagner, V., Jacobsen, T., & Menninghaus, W. (2017). The emotional power of poetry: Neural circuitry, psychophysiology and compositional principles. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 12(8), 1229-1240. doi:10.1093/scan/nsx069
  • Menninghaus, W., Wagner, V., Wassiliwizky, E., Jacobsen, T., & Knoop, C.A. (2017). The emotional and aesthetic powers of parallelistic diction. Poetics, 63, 47-59. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2016.12.00
  • Obermeier, C., Kotz, S. A., Jessen, S., Raettig, T., Koppenfels, M. von, & Menninghaus, W. (2016). Aesthetic appreciation of poetry correlates with ease of processing in event-related potentials. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 16(2), 362–373. http://doi.org/10.3758/s13415-015-0396-x
  • Balint, K., Hakemulder, F., Kuijpers, M. Tan, E., & Doicaru,M. (2016). Reconceptualizing foregrounding: Identifying response strategies to deviation in absorbing narratives. Scientific Study of Literature, 6(2), 176-207. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963947007075985
  • Menninghaus W., Bohrn I., Knoop C., Kotz S., Schlotz W., Jacobs A. (2015). Rhetorical features facilitate prosodic processing while handicapping ease of semantic comprehension. Cognition, 143, 48-60. doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2015.05.026.
  • Menninghaus, W., Bohrn, I. C., Altmann, U., Lubrich, O., & Jacobs, A. M. (2014). Sounds funny? Humor effects of phonological and prosodic figures of speech. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 8(1), 71–76. doi:10.1037/a0035309.
  • Castiglione, D. (2013a). The channel of (mis)communication: Semantic and pragmatic deviances in two poems by Geoffrey Hill and Susan Howe. PALA conference proceedings.
  • Castiglione, D. (2013b). The semantics of difficult poems: Deriving a checklist of linguistic phenomena. Journal of Literary Semantics, 42(1), 115-140. https://doi.org/10.1515/jls-2013-0003
  • Hakemulder, F. (2008). The more you see, the more you get: How spectators use their limited capacity for attention in responses to formal aspects of film (pp. 332-352). In J. Auracher & W. van Peer (Eds.), New Beginnings in Literary Studies. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • van Peer, W., Hakemulder, F., & Zyngier, S. (2007). Lines on feeling: Foregrounding, aesthetic appreciation, and meaning. Language and Literature, 16(2), 197-213. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963947007075985
  • Zyngier, S., Hakemulder, F. & Van Peer, W. (2007). Complexity and foregrounding: In the eye of the beholder? Poetics Today, 28(4), 653–682. https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-2007-011
  • van Peer, W., Hakemulder, F., & Zyngier, S. (2007). Lines on feeling: Foregrounding, aesthetic appreciation, and meaning. Language and Literature, 16(2), 197-213. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963947007075985
  • Hakemulder, F. (2007). Tracing foregrounding in responses to film. Language and Literature, 16, 125-139. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963947007075980
  • Sopčák, P. (2007). “Creation from nothing”: a foregrounding study of James Joyce’s drafts for Ulysses. Language and Literature, 16(2), 183–196. Reprinted in M. Toyota (Ed.). Stylistics, Vol 4. New Delhi ; Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963947007075984.
  • van Peer, W., & Hakemulder, F. (2006). Foregrounding (pp. 546-551). In K. Brown (Ed.), The Pergamon Encyclopaedia of Language and Linguisitics, Volume 4 (2nd Edition). Oxford: Elsevier.
  • van Peer, W., & Hakemulder, F. (2006). Foregrounding (pp. 546-551). In K. Brown (Ed.), The Pergamon Encyclopaedia of Language and Linguisitics, Volume 4. Oxford: Elsevier.
  • van Peer, W., & Nousi, A. (2006). What reading does to readers: Stereotypes, foregrounding, and language learning (pp. 181-193). In G. Watson & S. Zyngier (Eds.), Literature and Stylistics for Language Learners. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Hakemulder, F. (2004) Foregrounding and its effects on readers’ perception. Discourse Processes, 38(2), 193-218. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963947007075980
  • van Peer, W., & Chatman, S. (2001). Introduction (pp. 1-13). In W. van Peer & S. Chatman (Eds.), New Perspectives on Narrative Perspective. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
  • van Peer, W. (1996). Canon formation: Ideology or aesthetic quality? The British Journal of Aesthetics, 36(2), 97-108.
  • van Peer, W. (1991). But what is literature? Toward a descriptive definition of literary texts (pp. 127-141). Roger D. Sell (Ed.) Literary Pragmatics. London / New York: Routledge.
  • van Peer, W. (1990). The measurement of metre: Its cognitive and affective functions. Poetics 19, 259-275. 10.1016/0304-422X(90)90023-X
  • van Peer, W. (1986). Stylistics and Psychology. Investigations of Foregrounding. London: Croom Helm.

Resources

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Prosodic and Phonological Effects in Literary Texts

Abstract

In many literary genres such as proverbs, poetry, and prose where language is used in an aesthetic manner, semantic and formal components thereof are related to each other in meaningful ways (Jakobson, 1960; Levin 1962; Fabb, 2015). According to literary theory, this results in a pronounced “palpability“ of form (Jakobson, 1960) and, most notably, of sound patterning (Jakobson & Waugh, 1979/2002; Schrott & Jacobs, 2011; Skhlovsky, 1917).

“Sound” in its broadest sense can be understood to comprise an array of linguistic aspects that are bound to diverse formal and semantic features (Jacobs, 2015) and play a particular role for the phonological as well as on the prosodic level of language. Examples include the phonological inventory related to core units such as phonemes and tonemes, phonology-based stylistic devices such as rhyme, meter and other figures of phonological recurrence (Kraxenberger & Menninghaus, 2016; 2017), as well as acoustic, suprasegmental features above single speech sounds. Some of these features regularly interact (such as poetic rhythm and meter) or frequently co-occur and influence each other (such as end rhyme and meter). All these different aspects comprise the particular “melodies” of literary texts, that is, its musical features.

Consequently, these diverse aspects lead to different (re)presentations of sound (abstract-phonological; acoustic-prosodic) that have been investigated in relation to the different perception modes by which they are shaped (silent reading; reading aloud; listening to literary texts read aloud).

The aim of the present contribution is to review the growing body of empirical research that is concerned with the prosodic and phonological effects in literary texts. In doing so, this review aims to identify the prevalent concepts, theories and methods in a systematic way and to point out apparent lacunae of interest for future studies.

Members

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Maria Kraxenberger

Postdoctoral Researcher, Institute for Literary Studies, Department of Modern German Literature I, University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany.

Maria holds a Master (Magister Artium) in Comparative Literature from the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich, and a PhD (Dr. phil) from the Freie Universität Berlin. She has been a visiting student researcher at the LitLab at Stanford University and worked from 2014-2018 at the Max-Planck-Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in the Department for Language & Literature, and at the DH Lab of the University of Basel from 2019-2020. Since October 2020, Maria works as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Literary Studies, Department of Modern German Literature I, at the University of Stuttgart. Her main research interests include sound-emotion associations, effects of structural features, and suprasegmental features in poetry. Maria uses mainly quantitative, empirical methods to explore and investigate these topics.

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Christine A. Knoop

Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Language and Literature, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt, Germany.

Christine holds an M.A. (Magister Artium) in German and French Literature and Theater Studies from Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, and a PhD in Comparative Literature from University College London. After a postdoctoral position at Freie Universität Berlin, she took up her appointment at the Max Planck Institute in 2013. Her main research areas include experimental approaches to reader response, mostly pertaining to poetry and metaphor, studies of the rhythm(s) of prose, authorship (theories and their reception in literary studies; authorial self-representation and response management), and non-mother tongue and multilingual writing.

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Mathias Scharinger

Professor for Phonetics, Institute for German Linguistics, Philipps-University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany.

Mathias recently finished his Habilitation in General Linguistics at the University of Potsdam after several post-doctoral fellowships at the Max Planck Institutes of Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, the Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, and in the Linguistics Department at the University of Maryland, USA. Mathias obtained his PhD (Dr. phil) from the University of Konstanz in 2007. His research topics cover the core areas of Linguistics, such as Phonetics, Phonology, and Morphology, with a interdisciplinary perspective towards the Neurosciences. He is interested in the neurobiology of linguistic representations and how they shape sensory predictions during speech perception. He has recently extended his research agenda to include supra-segmental, prosodic aspects of speech, particularly in spoken poetry. Mathias will be the spokesperson of the DFG-funded Research Training Group »Dynamics and stability of linguistic representations« at the Philipps-University Marburg, starting in March 2022. Photo by Felix Bernoully.

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Stefan Blohm

Postdoctoral researcher, Centre for Language Studies (CLS), Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Stefan holds an M.A. (Magister Artium) in General Linguistics and British Studies, and a PhD (Dr. phil.) in General Linguistics, both from Mainz University (Germany). He was a doctoral fellow and a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Language and Literature of the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics (Frankfurt/Main, Germany), and a visiting researcher at Strathclyde University (UK) and at the University of Oxford (UK). Convinced that literature has its true existence only in the individual, Stefan employs psycholinguistic methods (e.g., EEG, eye tracking, intuitive judgments) to study how literary comprehension is affected by genre conceptions and by aspects of poetic form.

Publications

  • Blohm, S., & Knoop, C.A., (in press). What to expect from a poem? The primacy of rhyme in college students’ conceptions of poetry. In V. Sykäri & N. Fabb (Eds.), Proceedings of the conference “Rhyme and rhyming in verbal art and song”.
  • Blohm, S., Kraxenberger, M., Knoop, C. A., & Scharinger, M. (2021). Sound shape and sound effects of literary texts. In D. Kuiken & A. M. Jacobs (Eds.), Handbook of Empirical Literary Studies (pp. 7-38). De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110645958-002
  • Menninghaus, W., & Blohm, S. (2020). Empirical aesthetics of poetry. In M. Nadal & O. Vartanian (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Empirical Aesthetics (pp. 1-20). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198824350.013.33
  • Tavano, A., Blohm, S., Knoop, C. A., Muralikrishnan, R., Scharinger, M., Wagner, V., et al. (2020). Neural harmonics reflect grammaticality. bioRxiv - The Preprint Server for Biology, https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.08.031575v1
  • Scharinger, M. (2020). Abstractions, predictions, and speech sound representations. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 43, e146. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X19003030
  • Kraxenberger, M., & Knoop, C. A. (2020). Grundriss der empirischen Literaturwissenschaft- Eine Gebrauchsanweisung In S. Yasuhiro, F. Jäger, & T. Jun (Eds.), Bilder als Denkformen - Bildwissenschaftliche Dialoge zwischen Japan und Deutschland (pp. 215-220). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110582406-018
  • Kraxenberger, M. (2019). Klang und Emotionsperzeption in Gedichten: Drei empirische Beispielstudien. In P. Nicklas (Ed.), Literatur und Musik im Künstevergleich. Empirische und hermeneutische Methoden (S. 17-34). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter.
  • Auracher, J., Scharinger, M., & Menninghaus, W. (2019). Contiguity-based sound iconicity: The Meaning of words resonates with phonetic properties of their immediate verbal contexts, PLoS ONE, 14(5), e0216930.
  • Knoop, C. A., Blohm, S., Kraxenberger, M., & Menninghaus, W. (2019). How perfect are imperfect rhymes? Effects of phonological similarity and verse context on rhyme perception. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/aca0000277
  • Knoop, C. A. (2019). Empirische Zugänge zur Erforschung sprachlicher Rhythmen in der Literatur. In P. Nicklas (Ed.), Literatur und Musik im Künstevergleich. Empirische und hermeneutische Methoden (pp. 58-76). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter.
  • Blohm, S., Wagner, V., Schlesewsky, M., & Menninghaus, W. (2018). Sentence judgments and the grammar of poetry: Linking linguistic structure and poetic effect. Poetics, 69, 41–56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2018.04.005
  • Kraxenberger, M., Menninghaus, W., Roth, A., & Scharinger, M. (2018). Prosody-based sound-emotion associations in poetry. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1284; https://doi.org/1210.3389/fpsyg.2018.01284.
  • Menninghaus, W., Wagner, V., Knoop, C. A., & Scharinger, M. (2018). Poetic speech melody: A crucial link between music and language. PLoS ONE, 13(11), e0205980.
  • Kraxenberger, M., & Menninghaus, W. (2018). Mimologische Träumereien? Über ikonische Assoziationen von Klang und Gefühlswahrnehmung in Gedichten. In D. Scherf & A. Bertschi-Kaufmann (Eds.), Ästhetische Rezeptionsprozesse aus didaktischer Perspektive (S. 72–88). Weinheim, Basel: Beltz Juventa.
  • Kraxenberger, M. (2018). Gelesen wie gesprochen: Überlegungen zur Gedichtrezeption als prosodisches (Text-)Gerede im Inneren. In D.-C. Assmann & N. Menzel (Eds.), Textgerede. Interferenzen von Mündlichkeit und Schriftlichkeit in der Gegenwartsliteratur (S. 147–160). Paderborn: Fink. (should replace the current ‚in press‘ citation)
  • Blohm, S., Menninghaus, W., & Schlesewsky, M. (2017). Sentence-level effects of literary genre: Behavioral and electrophysiological evidence. Frontiers in Psychology, 8:1887. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01887
  • Menninghaus, W., Wagner, V., Wassiliwizky, E., Jacobsen, T., & Knoop, C. A. (2017). The emotional and aesthetic powers of parallelistic diction. Poetics, 63, 47-59. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2016.12.001
  • Kraxenberger, M., & Menninghaus, W. (2017). Affinity for poetry and aesthetic appreciation of joyful and sad poems. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 2051. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.02051
  • Ullrich, S., Aryani, A., Kraxenberger, M., Jacobs, A. M., & Conrad, M. (2017). On the relation between the general affective meaning and the basic sublexical, lexical, and inter-lexical features of poetic texts—A case study using 57 poems of H. M. Enzensberger. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 2073. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.02073
  • Scharinger, M., Steinberg, J., & Tavano, A. (2017). Integrating speech in time depends on temporal expectancies and attention. Cortex, 93, 28-40. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2017.05.001
  • Scharinger, M., Domahs, U., Klein, E., & Domahs, F. (2016). Mental representations of vowel features asymmetrically modulate activity in superior temporal sulcus. Brain and Language, 163, 42–49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2016.09.002
  • Kraxenberger, M., & Menninghaus, W. (2016). Emotional effects of poetic phonology, word positioning and dominant stress peaks in poetry reading. Scientific Study of Literature, 6(2), 298-313. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.6.2.06kra
  • Kraxenberger, M., & Menninghaus, W. (2016). Mimological reveries? Disconfirming the hypothesis of phono-emotional iconicity in poetry. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1779. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01779
  • Aryani, A., Kraxenberger, M., Ullrich, S., Jacobs, A. M., & Conrad, M. (2016). Measuring the basic affective tone of poems via phonological saliency and iconicity. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 10(2), 191-204. https://doi.org/10.1037/aca0000033
  • Knoop, C. A., Wagner, V., Jacobsen, T., & Menninghaus, W. (2016). Mapping the aesthetic space of literature from “below”. Poetics, 56, 35-49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2016.02.001
  • Knoop, C. A. (2016). Criticism or Ressentiment? Literary studies and the politics of interdisciplinarity. In J. Riou & M. Gallagher (Eds.), Re-Thinking Ressentiment. On the Limits of Criticism and the Limits of its Critics (pp. 149-166). Bielefeld: transcript.
  • Menninghaus, W., Bohrn, I. C., Knoop, C. A., Kotz, S. A., Schlotz, W., & Jacobs, A. M. (2015). Rhetorical features facilitate prosodic processing while handicapping ease of semantic comprehension. Cognition, 143(0), 48-60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2015.05.026
  • Lubrich, O., Knoop, C. A., & Jacobs, A. (2014). Jean Genet und die Ästhetisierung des Abweichenden. Ein interdisziplinäres Experiment. In M. N. Lorenz & O. Lubrich (Eds.), Jean Genet und Deutschland (pp. 393-411). Gifkendorf: Merlin
  • Strauß, A., Kotz, S. A., Scharinger, M., & Obleser, J. (2014). Alpha and theta brain oscillations index dissociable processes in spoken word recognition. Neuroimage, 97, 387- 395. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.04.005
  • Zimmerer, F., Scharinger, M., & Reetz, H. (2014). Phonological and morphological constraints on German /t/-deletions. Journal of Phonetics, 45, 64–75. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2014.03.006
  • Scharinger, M. (2009). Minimal representations of alternating vowels. Lingua, 119(10), 1414-1425. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2007.12.009

Resources

Computer Analysis of Metrical Structure
  • Metricalizer (Bobenhausen & Hammerich, 2015). Metricalizer analyzes any (German) poem in its metrical structure. In doing so, it also provides information about so-called “metrical complexity.”
Manual and Automated Data Analyses
  • CLARIN-D. CLARIN-D provides a research infrastructure that helps researchers in the Humanities, Cultural and Social Sciences with manual and automated analyses of their own and re-used research data. See in particular the MAUS-tools that provide automatic text-alignment to speech.

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Contextual Meaning-making in Reading: The Role of Affect

Abstract

Emotions play a crucial role in how readers process, comprehend and experience texts. This chapter will focus on what we have learned about the emotional aspects of reading by using eye tracking, a methodology that provides detailed information about the time-course of reading processes as they occur online. The chapter will first introduce basic emotional concepts relevant for reading research. It then describes key measures of eye movements used in previous research focusing on sentence- and text comprehension. We will then review previous eye tracking research on the role of emotions in reading conducted at three levels: word, sentence and text. It seems that while word-level emotion effects have received quite a lot of interest, much less empirical work has been conducted on sentence and text-level phenomena. The lack of empirical evidence is reflected in theoretical accounts, which currently are still under development. Thus, there is a clear need for vigorous empirical research to advance the theoretical work on emotional aspects of reading. This chapter will provide some pointers to future research: It highlights the importance of using naturalistic texts and demands the further development of advanced exploratory, predictive and explanatory computational methods and models in order to foster the understanding of the emotional aspects of reading.

Members

member

Jana Lüdtke

Research Associate, Experimental and Neurocognitive Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

Dr. Lüdtke received her PhD in 2009 from the Technische Universität Berlin, Germany. She is currently a research associate coordinating the laboratories in the psychology department, including EEG, eye tracking and peripheral physiology. She is an expert in the field of language comprehension. Her current research deals with the interplay of language and emotion during reading of shorter and longer texts, with a specific focus on neurocognitive poetics. She also focuses on how to combine online measures (e.g., eye tracking) with offline measures (e.g., subjective ratings) to get a detailed picture of how readers read and react to literary texts like poems short stories and narratives.

member

Johanna K. Kaakinen

Senior Research Fellow, Turku Institute for Advanced Studies and Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Finland.

Dr. Kaakinen received her PhD in 2004 from the University of Turku, Finland. She coordinates Turku EyeLabs, a multidisciplinary eye tracking laboratory at the University of Turku. She is an expert in using eye tracking to study reading of longer, connected texts and has published several articles and book chapters on the topic. Her current research deals with readers’ emotional reactions to both expository and literary texts and focuses on the interplay of cognitive and emotional processes during reading. In this project, eye tracking is combined with other psychophysiological measures to get a detailed picture of how readers inspect and react to text materials.

member

Arthur Jacobs

Professor of Experimental and Neurocognitive Psychology, Dahlem Institute for Neuroimaging of Emotion (D.I.N.E.), Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

As part of the interdisciplinary “Languages of Emotion” project of FUB, he led a team investigating the “Affective and Aesthetic Processes of Reading.” He is (co-)author of >250 scientific publications in the fields of reading and eye movement research, psycholinguistics, affective neuroscience, and Neurocognitive Poetics, among which the book Gehirn und Gedicht (Brain and Poetry, 2011; with Raoul Schrott). He also serves as associate editor for Frontiers in Human Neuroscience and Scientific Study of Literature. Beginning with an extensive review of the neurocognitive studies on schemes and tropes (‘Gehirn & Gedicht’ [‘Brain & Poetry’], 2011). he developed novel machine-learning assisted computational tools for predicting the beauty of words (Jacobs, 2017), of poem lines (Jacobs, 2018b), or of poetic metaphors (Jacobs & Kinder, 2017, 2018). He also published the first specialized training corpus and vector space model for computational stylistics studies in English, the Gutenberg English Literary Corpus (Jacobs, 2018a) and a review of computational stylistics from a neurocognitive poetics point of view (Jacobs, 2015, 2018b).

Publications

  • Kaakinen, J. K., Papp-Zipernovszky, O., Werlen, E., Castells Gomez, N., Bergamin, P., Baccino, T., & Jacobs. A. C. (2018). Emotional and motivational aspects of digital reading. In M. Barzillai, J. Thomson, S. Schroeder, & P. van den Broek (Eds.), Learning to Read in a Digital World. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Kaakinen, J. K., Ballenghein, U., Tissier, G., & Baccino, T. (2017). Fluctuation in cognitive engagement during reading: Evidence from concurrent recordings of postural and eye movements. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition
  • Kaakinen, J. K. (2017). On-line measures of text processing. In Michael F. Schober, David N. Rapp, & M. Anne Britt (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Discourse Processes: Second Edition (pp. 125-130). NY: Routledge.
  • Jacobs, A. M., & Lüdtke, J. (2017). Immersion into narrative and poetic worlds: A neurocognitive poetics perspective. In F. Hakemulder, M.M. Kuijpers, E.S. Tan, K. Bálint and M.M. Doicaru. (Eds.), Narrative Absorption (pp. 69-96). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Jacobs, A. M., Schuster, S., Shuwei, S. & Lüdtke, J. (2017). What’s in the brain that ink may character….: A quantitative narrative analysis of Shakespeare’s 154 Sonnets for use in neurocognitive poetics, Scientific Study of Literature 7(1), 4–51. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.7.1.02jac.
  • Jacobs, A. M., Lüdtke, J., Aryani, A., Meyer-Sickendiek, B., and Conrad, M. (2016b). Mood empathic and aesthetic responses in poetry reception: A model-guided, multilevel, multimethod approach. Scientific Study of Literature, 6(1), 87–130. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.6.1.06jac
  • Lüdtke, J., Jacobs, A. M. (2015): The emotion potential of simple sentences: Additive or interactive effects of nouns and adjectives? Frontiers in Psychology, 11.08.2015, Volume 6, Article 1137, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01137
  • Jacobs, A. M., Võ, M. L. H., Briesemeister, B. B., Conrad, M., Hofmann, M. J., Kuchinke, L., Lüdtke, J. & Braun, M. (2015). 10 years of BAWLing into affective and aesthetic processes in reading: What are the echoes?. Frontiers in Psychology, 6:714. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00714
  • Olkoniemi, H., Ranta, H. & Kaakinen J. K. (2016). Individual Differences in the Processing of Written Sarcasm and Metaphor: Evidence From Eye Movements. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 42(3), 433-450.
  • Kaakinen, J. K., Lehtola, A., & Paattilammi, S. (2015). The influence of a reading task on children’s eye movements during reading. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 27, 640-656. https://doi.org/10.1080/20445911.2015.1005623
  • Lüdtke, J. Meyer-Sickendiek, B. & Jacobs, A.M. (2014). Immersing in the stillness of an early morning: Explorations in poetic mood induction. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 8, 363-377.
  • Kaakinen, J. K. & Hyönä, J. (2014). Task relevance induces momentary changes in the functional visual field during reading. Psychological Science, 25, 626-632.
  • Kaakinen, J. K., Olkoniemi, H., Kinnari, T., & Hyönä, J. (2014). Processing of written irony: An eye movement study. Discourse Processes, 51, 287-311. https://doi.org/10.1080/0163853X.2013.870024
  • Jacobs, A., Lüdtke, J., & Meyer-Sickendiek, B (2013). Bausteine einer Neurokognitiven Poetik: Foregrounding/Backgrounding,lyrische Stimmung und ästhetisches Gefallen. In B. Meyer Sickendiek & F. Reents (Hsg.) Stimmung und Methode. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck

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Empirical Approaches to Poetic Metaphor

Abstract

This chapter has two goals: to present a concise survey of scholarship on empirical studies of poetic metaphor; and to define several major issues seen in such empirical studies that can guide future research in this field. We will distinguish among three types of experimental methodology employed in this interdisciplinary domain: a reaction-time study investigating, for example, lexical decisions; the use of questionnaires and rating scales assessing, for example, metaphor aptness; and the use of a thinking-aloud protocol investigating, for example, the process of metaphor comprehension or the experience of affect. We will then discuss the theoretical issues raised in a close consideration of these studies. Major questions will include: Should poetic metaphor be studied in isolation from the context of the poetic text?; Should a literary/poetic tradition be taken into consideration (i.e., Metaphysical poetry; Imagist poetry). Should similes and metaphors be treated equivalently? In the discussion of the empirical methodologies, major questions will include: Who should be the readers of the poetic text: students of literature; students of psychology; professors of literature; poets? Should the studies of poetic metaphor be necessarily informed both by literary scholarship and cognitive psychology? What are the methodological strengths, and limitations of the empirical studies?

Members

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Canita Goodblatt

Laboratory for Cognitive Poetics, Dept. of Foreign Literatures & Linguistics, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.

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Joseph Glicksohn

Department of Criminology, Bar-Ilan University, Israel.

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Computational Stylistics

Abstract

The written substrate of literary works is clearly the basis of all things literary. However, in the empirical study of literature, the textual base has long been secondary to the study of readerly and social-economic dimensions. What is more, following the formalist and structuralist traditions, empirical textual studies have as a rule focused on features of “deviance”, or foregrounding. To recalibrate this situation, the computational stylistics coalition will concentrate on the textual substrate of literary discourse – in formal detail, as well as in quantitative breadth.

Following ideas by Gérald Genette (Fiction and Diction) as well as Käte Hamburger (The Logic of Literature), we will textually examine the dimension of style inasmuch as that of fictional world making. Our aim is to give a new text-based account of what makes literary texts literary: at the levels of (a) intra-literary discourse, in comparison with non-literary works, and (b) inter-literary/non-literary discourse, in diachronic and synchronous comparison with other (types of) literary texts. We ask whether literature, seen generally, is really typically marked by features that “stick out”, or whether it may be other, more backgrounded features that are indicative. As this research requires large and varied sets of data, as well as reliable and automatized means of textual analyses, we will tap into the computational assets available within the paradigm of “Digital Humanities” and Digital Stylistics”, using big samples of digitized versions of literary texts and text-mining techniques for their analysis (e.g. frequency analyses of features and collocations, keyness, quantitative content analysis, stylometry, topic modeling, sentiment analysis, semantic word embedding).

Inductive Stock Taking At the highest level, our computational stylistic research wishes to contribute to a descriptive account of the full variety of genres and text types – throughout literary history up to the current date, including canonical as well as popular literary production. It pursues the following open questions about textual indicators of fictionality/literariness:

  • Intra-discourse distribution: How is language used in specific literary genres across variables such as time, language, nation, and culture?
  • Inter-discourse distribution: Do literary texts show features and ensembles of textual feature that are typically literary? What are these? If there are any, are these stable across time and genres? How about cross-cultural variation?

Literary Features Hunt Given the long and relevant tradition of analyzing rhetorical features of style in literature, we also zoom in on features and patterns of deviance that are salient and attract readers’ attention, for example creative metaphorical language use and recurrence of stylistic features:

  • Assessment: What textual features have been shown to systematically attract (today’s) reader attention or transport them into fictional worlds?
  • Operationalization: Which of these features may be analyzed by means of computational stylistics, i.e. through formalization and quantification? What tools may be used to this end and in how far do these have to be adapted?
  • Analysis: How are these features distributed across genres, epochs, cultures, and so on?

Naturally, the latter type of computational analysis may grow out of reader response studies, guide stimuli construction, and generally feed back into reader response studies.

Members

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Giulia Grisot

Postdoctoral Researcher, Faculty of Linguistics and Literary Studies, Bielefeld University, Germany.

Giulia is a researcher interested in the mechanisms by which humans process and understand language and literature, and in the ways linguistic data can be explored computationally. She is currently part of the research project “High Mountains Low Arousal? Distant Reading Topographies of Sentiment in German Swiss Novels in the early 20th Century”. In her PhD project she explored language processing of difficulties in literary texts, with a particular focus on Virginia Woolf. It combined stylistics and psycholinguistics methods (in particular eye tracking), to investigate textual complexities from an empirical viewpoint.

member

Andrew Piper

Professor and William Dawson Scholar, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Andrew’s work explores computational approaches to the study of literature and culture. He is the director of .txtLAB, a laboratory for cultural analytics at McGill, as well as leader of the international partnership grant, “NovelTM: Text Mining the Novel,” which brings together 21 partners across North America to undertake the first large-scale quantitative and cross-cultural study of the novel. He is the author most recently of Enumerations: Data and Literary Study (Chicago 2018). His work concentrates on two principal facets. The first uses data-driven techniques to better understand the social functionality of fictional writing by examining the features that distinguish fictional from non-fictional writing. The second explores cultural inequality and cultural capital with respect to contemporary novel writing I.e., the biases of language, discourse, and representation that surround and maintain cultural hierarchies.

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Arthur Jacobs

Professor of Experimental and Neurocognitive Psychology, Dahlem Institute for Neuroimaging of Emotion (D.I.N.E.), Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

As part of the interdisciplinary “Languages of Emotion” project of FUB, he led a team investigating the “Affective and Aesthetic Processes of Reading.” He is (co-)author of >250 scientific publications in the fields of reading and eye movement research, psycholinguistics, affective neuroscience, and Neurocognitive Poetics, among which the book Gehirn und Gedicht (Brain and Poetry, 2011; with Raoul Schrott). He also serves as associate editor for Frontiers in Human Neuroscience and Scientific Study of Literature. Beginning with an extensive review of the neurocognitive studies on schemes and tropes (‘Gehirn & Gedicht’ [‘Brain & Poetry’], 2011). he developed novel machine-learning assisted computational tools for predicting the beauty of words (Jacobs, 2017), of poem lines (Jacobs, 2018b), or of poetic metaphors (Jacobs & Kinder, 2017, 2018). He also published the first specialized training corpus and vector space model for computational stylistics studies in English, the Gutenberg English Literary Corpus (Jacobs, 2018a) and a review of computational stylistics from a neurocognitive poetics point of view (Jacobs, 2015, 2018b).

member

Karina van Dalen-Oskam

Head of the Department of literary studies, Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands; Professor in Computational Literary Studies, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Karina is an active member of the international digital humanities community, where she currently serves as chair of the steering committee of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO). Her research deals with the analysis of literary writing style and readers’ evaluation of literature, building on her expertise in literary studies, medieval studies, onomastics, and lexicography.

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J. Berenike Herrmann

Professor, Department of German Studies, Bielefeld University, Germany.

Berenike applies computational and reader-response approaches to the study of literature and culture. She has been PI of the corpus stylistic project “KOLIMO” and the co-located SNF-Project “Research Epistemologies in text-based DH after the Machine Learning turn”, applying computational humanities methods to the study of online literature reviews. She is Management Committee member of the COST Action Distant Reading and current chair of ADHO Special Interest Group “Digital Literary Stylistics”. She pursues two principal research questions: The first one is text-driven, using computational and also reader-response methods to examine how particular features of fictional and nonfictional writing relate to aesthetic effects and social-cultural functions in discourse. The second strives to understand the potential as well as the constraints of the digital transformation of society and the Humanities, exploring how computational methods interact with modes of scholarly thinking and how individuals make sense of literature and culture in web 2.0 environments.

Publications

  • Herrmann, J. B., Grisot, G., Gubser, S., & Kreyenbühl, E. (2021). Ein großer Berg Daten? Zur bibliothekswissenschaftlichen Dimension des korpusliteraturwissenschaftlichen Digital Humanities-Projekts „High Mountains – Deutschschweizer Erzählliteratur 1880–1930”. Zeitschrift Für Bibliothekskultur / Journal for Library Culture, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.21428/1bfadeb6.6e2feff6
  • Kraicer, E., & Piper, A. (2019). Social characters: The hierarchy of gender in contemporary English-language fiction, Journal of Cultural Analytics.
  • Piper, A. (2018). Enumerations: Data and Literary Study. Chicago University Press.
  • Jacobs, A. M. (2018a). The Gutenberg English Poetry Corpus: Exemplary quantitative narrative analyses. Front. Digit. Humanit. 5:5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fdigh.2018.00005
  • Jacobs, A. M. (2018b). (Neuro-)Cognitive poetics and computational stylistics. Scientific Study of Literature, 8(1), 164-207. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.18002.jac.
  • Jacobs, A. M., & Kinder, A. (2018). What makes a metaphor literary? Answers from two computational studies, Metaphor and Symbol, 33(2), 85-100, https://doi.org/10.1080/10926488.2018.1434943
  • Riddell, A., & van Dalen-Oskam, K. (2018). Readers and their roles: Evidence from readers of contemporary fiction in the Netherlands. PLOS ONE, 13(7), e0201157. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0201157
  • Rebora, S., Herrmann, J. B., Lauer, G., & Salgaro, M. (2018). Robert Musil, a War Journal, and Stylometry: Tackling the Issue of Short Texts in Authorship Attribution. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, fqy055, https://doi.org/10.1093/llc/fqy055
  • Herrmann, J. B. (2017). In a test bed with Kafka. Introducing a mixed-method approach to digital stylistics, in: Chambers, S., Jones, C., Kestemont, M., Koolen, M., & J. van Zundert (Hg.). Special Issue DHBenelux 2015, Digital Humanities Quarterly, 11(4). http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/11/4/000341/000341.html
  • Does, J. de, Depuydt, K., van Dalen-Oskam, K. van, & Marx, M. (2017). Namescape: Named Entity Recognition from a Literary Perspective. Ubiquity Press. https://doi.org/10.5334/bbi.30
  • van Dalen-Oskam, K. (2017). Corpus-based approaches to names in literature. In: C. Hough (Ed), The Oxford Handbook of Names and Naming (p. 344-354). Oxford University Press.
  • Jacobs, A. M., & Kinder, A. (2017). The brain is the prisoner of thought: A machine-learning assisted quantitative narrative analysis of literary metaphors for use in Neurocognitive Poetics. Metaphor and Symbol, 32(3), 139-160, https://doi.org/10.1080/10926488.2017.1338015
  • Jacobs, A. M. (2017). Quantifying the beauty of words: A neurocognitive poetics perspective. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 11:622. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00622
  • Piper, A. (2017). Think small: On literary modeling. PMLA 132(3), 651-658.
  • Piper, A. (2016). Fictionality. Journal of Cultural Analytics https://doi.org/10.22148/16.011
  • Piper, A., & Portelance, E. (2016). How Cultural Capital Works: Prizewinning Novels, Bestsellers, and the Time of Reading. Post45.
  • Piper, A. (2015). Novel devotions: Conversional reading, computational modeling, and the modern novel. New Literary History, 46(1), 63-98.
  • Jacobs, A. M. (2015). Neurocognitive poetics: methods and models for investigating the neuronal and cognitive-affective bases of literature reception. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 9:186. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00186
  • Herrmann, J. B., van Dalen-Oskam, K. & Schöch, C. (2015). Revisiting style, a key concept in literary studies. Journal of Literary Theory 9(1), 25-52.
  • van Dalen-Oskam, K. (2015). In praise of the variant analysis tool. A computational approach to medieval literature. In: André Lardinois, Sophie Levie, Hans Hoeken and Christoph Lüthy (Eds), Texts, Transmissions, Receptions: Modern Approaches to Narratives (p. 35-54). Leiden: Brill. http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/books/9789004270848
  • Schrott, R., & Jacobs, A. M. (2011). Gehirn und Gedicht: Wie wir unsere Wirklichkeiten konstruieren (Brain and poetry: How we construct our realities). München: Hanser.
  • Steen, G. J., Dorst, A. G., Herrmann, J. B., Kaal, A. A., Krennmayr, T., & Pasma, T. (2010). A method for linguistic metaphor identification: From MIP to MIPVU. Converging Evidence in Language and Communication Research, 14. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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Modes of Reading Engagement

Embodied Reading (Simulation, Imagery)

Abstract

Readers experience a number of sensations during reading. We do not – or do not only – process words and sentences in a detached, abstract manner. Instead we can “perceive” what we read about. We see descriptions of scenery. We feel what characters feel. Perhaps we hear the sounds in a story. These sensations tend to be grouped under the umbrella terms ‘mental simulation’ and ‘mental imagery’.

In this chapter we will give an overview of empirical research on the role of mental simulation during literary reading. We will discuss what mental simulation is, and how it relates to mental imagery. Moreover, we investigate when, under what circumstances mental simulation occurs during literature reading. Finally, we ask what the effect is that mental simulation has on the literary reader’s experience. We will also illustrate the (online) methods used in studying mental simulation, as well as unresolved questions in this field.

Members

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Anežka Kuzmičová

Department of Czech Language and Theory of Communication, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.

Anežka studies reading as cognitive process, embodied experience, and situated practice. Her current research is divided between three interconnected topics: (a) the role of the physical environment in reading; (b) the distinctive text experiences afforded by digital devices, such as digital audiobooks and smart mobile phones; (c) the relationships between text properties, personal variables, and imaginative/empathic reader response. Her work is interdisciplinary, empirical-theoretical, and largely collaborative. Anežka has produced numerous articles in which she combined the framework of embodied cognition with text-linguistic and aesthetic approaches, elaborating a model and typology of readers’ mental imagery in the reading of literary narrative. The model is currently under empirical testing.

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Erin M. McTigue

Researcher and Associate Professor, National Centre for Reading Education and Reading Research, Stavanger, Norway.

Erin’s primary research areas reside in children’s literacy development, including (a) readers’ motivation, (b) literature for promoting empathy, and (c) disciplinary literacy, particularly the use of visuals in science. She has authored numerous journal articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings. Previously, Erin was a classroom teacher, a reading specialist, and an Associate Professor at Texas A&M University, where she taught graduate courses in assessment, disciplinary literacy and directed the TAMU Reading Clinic. In relation to reading-concurrent embodiment (simulations, imagery), Erin has produced theoretical and empirical work on the Dual Coding Theory of cognition as applied to reading, designed visualization pedagogies for young readers, and investigated the link between visual literacy and learning.

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Anne Mangen

Professor of Literacy at the National Centre for Reading Education and Reading Research, Stavanger, Norway.

Anne’s primary research is related to the effects and implications of digitization for reading and literacy, e.g. comparing reading of a variety of texts on paper and on different kinds of screen devices (tablets, computers, e-readers). Methodologically, she has experience using rating scales and measures of cognitive aspects of reading (recall, comprehension), and some experience with eye tracking technology and video data. In relation to reading-concurrent embodiment (simulations, imagery), she is currently working on an experimental study of whether different narrative styles induce different types of imagery as predicted by Kuzmičová’s (2014) phenomenological typology.

Publications

  • Burke, M., Kuzmičová, A., Mangen, A., & Schilhab, T. (2016). Empathy at the confluence of neuroscience and empirical literary studies. Scientific Study of Literature 6(1): 6–41. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.6.1.03bur.
  • Kuzmičová, A. (2016). Does it matter where you read? Situating narrative in physical environment. Communication Theory 26(3): 290–308. https://doi.org/10.1111/comt.12084.
  • Kuzmičová, A. (2014). Literary narrative and mental imagery: a view from embodied cognition. Style 48(3): 275–293.
  • Esrock, E., & Kuzmičová, A. (2014). Visual imagery in reading. In M. Kelly (ed.), Encyclopedia of Aesthetics: Second Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Vol. 3. 416–420.
  • Kuzmičová, A. (2013). Mental Imagery in the Experience of Literary Narrative: Views from Embodied Cognition (diss.). Stockholm: Stockholm University. 177p. https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.30990.77128
  • Kuzmičová, A. (2013). Outer vs. inner reverberations: verbal auditory imagery and meaning-making in literary narrative. Journal of Literary Theory 7(1-2): 111–134. https://doi.org/10.1515/jlt-2013-0005.
  • Kuzmičová, A. (2012). Fidelity without mimesis: mental imagery from visual description. In G. Currie, P. Koťátko, M. Pokorný (eds.), Mimesis: Metaphysics, Cognition, Pragmatics. London: College Publications. 273–315.
  • Kuzmičová, A. (2012). Presence in the reading of literary narrative: a case for motor enactment. Semiotica 189(1/4): 23–48. https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.2011.071.
  • Mangen, A., & Schilhab T. (2012). An Embodied view of Reading: Theoretical Considerations, Empirical Findings, and Educational Implications. In: Matre, S., & Skaftun, A. (eds) Skriv! Les! Trondheim: Akademika, pp. 285–300.
  • Sadoski, M., McTigue, E., & Paivio, A. (2012). A Dual Coding Theoretical Model of decoding in reading: Subsuming the LaBerge and Samuels Model. Reading Psychology 33(5): 465–496.
  • McTigue, E. M. (2010). Teaching young readers imagery in storytelling: What color is the monkey? The Reading Teacher 64(1): 53–56.
  • McTigue, E. M. & Slough, S. (2010). Student-accessible science texts: Elements of design. Reading Psychology 31(3): 213–227.
  • McTigue, E. M. (2009). Does “Multimedia Learning Theory” extend to middle school* students? Contemporary Educational Psychology 34(2): 143–153.

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Constructing Inferences (Situation Models)

Abstract

Theories of text and discourse comprehension indicate that generating inferences is a critical part of forming a coherent mental model of what we read. However, most of the work in this field has investigated the reading of simple narratives or expository text. This coalition represents the growing interest in the inferential processes that occur when people engage authentic fiction, literature, or other media (e.g., television, film, graphic novels).

Research in this area has emerged from scholars in literature, linguistics, cognitive psychology, education, and learning science. This research has explored (1) the types of inferences that are generated when reading literature, (2) the processes involved in the construction of these inferences, and (3) how these inferences influence literary comprehension, learning, and experience. It has demonstrated that reading literary works relies on both domain-general and discipline-specific processes, and the amount and types of inferences that are generated are dependent on complex interactions between the text, task, and reader.

The best means of capturing and evaluating literary-specific inferential processes as they unfold during and after reading is still an ongoing empirical question. Thus far, the research has been dominated by open-ended assessments such as think-aloud protocols and post-reading essays, but other work has employed reading times and recognition tests. The aims of this area of work are to refine and expand theory as well as to advance classroom practices.

Members

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Kathryn S. McCarthy

Assistant Professor, Department of Learning Sciences, Georgia State University, USA.

Dr. McCarthy earned her degree in cognitive psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and completed a postdoc at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on discipline-specific reading comprehension with emphasis in the areas of literature and science. Katie has published theoretical and empirical papers on the types of inferences involved in literary reading and processes necessary to construct them. She is also active in the development and evaluation of activities and interventions that promote successful literary reading. More recently, she has explored computational approaches that leverage natural language processing, machine learning, and dynamical systems theory to model literary comprehension.

member

William S. Horton

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, USA.

Dr. Horton received his Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Chicago in 1999. After postdoctoral positions at Stony Brook University and Georgia Institute of Technology, in 2005 he joined the faculty of the Psychology department at Northwestern University, where he is now Associate Professor and current Head of the Cognitive area. He also a member of the Program in Cognitive Science at Northwestern and faculty affiliate of the Linguistics department. He has served as a Member of the Governing Board of the Society for Text and Discourse and is on the editorial board of the Society journal, Discourse Processes. Dr. Horton’s research focuses on issues in pragmatics in language use in both spoken and written contexts. He has published on the role of imagery in language comprehension, on readers’ inferences about the socio-pragmatic consequences of figurative language use in narratives, and on how affective appraisals can facilitate literary interpretation. He is also interested in cognitive models of theory of mind and the relationships between mental state inferences and literary reading.

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Sarah Levine

Assistant Professor, Stanford University, USA.

Dr. Levine’s research focuses on the teaching and learning of literary interpretation in under-resourced urban high schools, with an emphasis on the links between in- and out-of-school interpretive practices. She is especially interested in the role of affect and emotion in interpretive reading, and ways that affect and emotion can play a more significant role in classroom reading. Before academia, Dr. Levine taught secondary English at a Chicago public school. Her primary goal as teacher and researcher is to help shape teaching and learning in secondary English so that literary reading can be the rich, transactional experience it was meant to be. Dr. Levine studies the effects of “affective evaluation” on literary interpretation, looking at ways that interpretation of authorial tone and identification of individual judgments and affective responses can support inexperienced literary readers in engaging in interpretation.

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Joseph Magliano

Professor of Learning Sciences, Georgia State University, USA.

Joseph Magliano’s research focuses on how people understand what they read and watch. He is interested in understanding the mental processes that support comprehension and the nature of memory representations that we create for events depicted in text and film. He is also interested in developing new ways to detect struggling readers and help them become successful comprehenders.

Publications

  • Levine, S.(2018). Using Everyday Language to Support Students in Constructing Thematic Interpretations. Journal of the Learning Sciences 28: 1-31.
  • Levine, S., Hall, A., Goldman, S., Lee, C.D. (2018). Design principles for instruction built on literary ways of knowing. In Nachowitz, M., Wilcox, K. (Eds.), Literacy in Secondary English/Language Arts Classrooms: Bridging the Gap to College and Career (invited).
  • McCarthy, K. S., Kopp, K. J., Allen, L. K., & McNamara, D. S. (2018). Methods of studying text: Memory, comprehension, and learning. In H. Otani & B. Schwarz (Eds.), Handbook of Research Methods in Human Memory. New York, NY: Routledge.
  • McCarthy, K. S. & Goldman, S. R. (2017). Constructing interpretive inferences about literary text: The role of domain-specific knowledge. Learning and Instruction. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2017.12.004
  • Balyan, R., McCarthy, K. S., & McNamara, D. S. (2017). Combining machine learning and natural language processing to assess literary text comprehension. In X. Hu, T. Barnes, A. Hershkovitz & L. Paquette (Eds.) Proceedings of the 10thInternational Conference on Educational Dating Mining (EDM). Wuhan, China: International Educational Data Mining Society.
  • Lee, C.D., Goldman, S., Levine, S., Magliano, J. (2016). Epistemic cognition in literary reasoning. In Greene, J. A., Sandoval, W.A., & Bråten, I. (Eds.), Handbook of Epistemic Cognition, New York: Routledge (invited).
  • Levine, S., Bernstein, M. (2016). Opening George Hillocks’ territory of literature. English Education, 48, (2), 127-147 (invited).
  • Yukhymenko-Lescroart, M., Briner, S. W., Lawless, K., Levine, S., Magliano, J. P., Burkett, C., McCarthy, K. S., Lee, C. D., & Goldman, S. R. (2016). Development and initial validation of the Literature Epistemic Cognition Scale (LECS). Learning and Individual Differences, 51, 242-248. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2016.09.014
  • Goldman, S. R., McCarthy, K. S., & Burkett, C. (2015). Interpretive inferences in literature. In E. O’Brien, A. Cook, & R. Lorch (Eds.), Inferences during reading (pp. 386-415). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
  • Levine, S., Horton, W. (2015). Helping high school students read like experts: Affective evaluation, salience, and literary interpretation. Cognition and Instruction, 33(2), 125-153. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2015.1029609
  • McCarthy, K. S. (2015). Reading beyond the lines: A critical review of cognitive approaches to literary interpretation and comprehension. Scientific Study of Literature, 5, 99-128. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.5.1.05mcc
  • McCarthy, K. S. & Goldman, S. R. (2015). Comprehension of short stories: Effects of task instructions on literary interpretation. Discourse Processes, 52, 585-608. https://doi.org/10.1080/0163853X.2014.967610
  • Levine, S., & Horton, W. S. (2015). Helping high school students read like experts: Affective evaluation, salience, and literary interpretation. Cognition and Instruction, 33, 125-153. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2015.1029609
  • Levine, S. (2014). Making interpretation visible with an affect-based strategy. Reading Research Quarterly, 49 (3), 283-303. https://doi.org/10.1002/rrq.71
  • Rapp, D. N., Hinze, S. R., Slaten, D. G., & Horton, W. S. (2014). Amazing stories: Acquiring and avoiding inaccurate information from fiction. Discourse Processes, 51, 50-74. https://doi.org/10.1080/0163853X.2013.855048
  • Levine, S., Horton, W. (2013). Using affective appraisal to help readers construct literary interpretations. Scientific Study of Literature, 3(1), 105-136. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.3.1.10lev
  • Horton, W. S. (2013). Character intimacy influences the processing of metaphoric utterances during narrative comprehension. Metaphor and Symbol, 28, 148-166. https://doi.org/10.1080/10926488.2013.797735
  • Levine, S., & Horton, W. S. (2013). Using affective appraisal to help readers construct literary interpretations. Scientific Study of Literature, 3, 105-136. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/ssol.3.1.10lev
  • Powers, C., Bencic, R., Horton, W. S., & Beeman, M. (2012). Hemispheric inference priming during comprehension of conversations and narratives. Neuropsychologia, 50, 2577-2583. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.07.008
  • Powers, C., Bencic, R., Horton, W. S., & Beeman, M. (2012). Hemispheric inference priming during comprehension of conversations and narratives. Neuropsychologia, 50, 2577-2583. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.07.008
  • Horton, W. S. (2007). Metaphor and readers’ attributions of intimacy. Memory & Cognition, 35, 87-94. https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03195945
  • Horton, W. S., & Rapp, D. N. (2003). Out of sight, out of mind: Occlusion and the accessibility of information in narrative comprehension. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 10, 104-110. https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03196473

Resources

Epistemology Measures
  • Literature Epistemic Cognition Scale (LECS; Yukhymenko-Lescroart et al., 2016). The LECS is a Likert scale survey developed to measure epistemological reasoning about fictional texts and how one learns from fiction. The LECS yields subscores for beliefs regarding (1) multiple meanings, (2) the value of re-reading, and (3) the social function of reading literature. There are also several items related to reading habits. The instrument was validated with adolescents (11-18), and more recent research has demonstrated validity with adult populations.

  • Reader Beliefs Inventory (RBI; Schraw & Bruning, 1996). The RBI is a brief Likert scale survey that measures the degree to which readers believe that the meaning of a text is (1) inherent in the text (translational) and (2) co-constructed by the author and reader (transactional).

Assessing Inferences
  • Taxonomy of inference categories generated during literary comprehension (Magilano, Baggett, & Graesser, 1996). Drawn for constructivist theories of discourse comprehension, this taxonomy outlines the types of inferences that could be made as people read literary works. The chapter also suggests a multi-pronged method for assessing how and when these inferences are generated.

  • Identifying types of literary inferences in open-ended responses (McCarthy & Goldman, 2015). This scoring guide is used to evaluate essays about literary works. It provides definitions and examples for scoring idea units as (1) paraphrase, (2) text-based inferences, and (3) interpretive inferences. The proportion of each type of inference can indicate the degree to which readers’ are engaging in more sophisticated reasoning.

    • DOI Link to McCarthy and Goldman (2015)

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Absorption (Transportation, Immersion)

Abstract

Narrative absorption is a focused form of reading, which leaves the reader unaware of their surroundings, their bodies, and the passage of time (Nell, 1988). In the last decade research on narrative absorption during literary reading has ventured in two contrasting directions. There are those who try to narrow down the conceptualization of absorption to make it more amenable to online physiological measurement (Sukalla, Bilandzic, Bolls & Busselle, 2015; Hsu, Conrad & Jacobs, 2014; Jacobs & Lüdtke, 2017) and there are those who are trying to broaden its conceptualization in order to investigate its relationships to other constructs of interest to the field, such as aesthetic outcomes (Balint, Hakemulder, Kuijpers, Doicaru & Tan, 2016; Kuijpers, Douglas & Kuiken, 2018; Kuiken & Douglas, 2017) or the concept of flow (Thissen, Menninghaus & Schlotz, 2018). In addition, the research has also expanded to include studies that have originated in alternative fields such as medical humanities (Billington et al., 2017) or that are using new methodologies such as machine learning (Rebora, Kuijpers & Lendvai, 2018). This chapter will describe the most recent developments within the field of narrative absorption research and embed them in the context of more established research on the topic.

Members

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Moniek M. Kuijpers

Postdoctoral research fellow, Gutenberg Institute for Book Science, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany.

Moniek received her PhD in empirical studies of literature from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, in 2014. She continued her work on absorption at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics focusing on personality traits and reading habits of absorbed readers and the problem of how to measure absorption online using eye tracking methodology. Her current research is focused on the mention of absorption in online reader reviews and the relationship between absorbed narrative reading and psychological well-being. Moniek developed a self-report measuring instrument, the Story World Absorption Scale, to capture absorption. She has conducted and published several studies on the effects of various textual devices (i.e., suspense and curiosity structures, foregrounding) on absorption, but also on the individual differences (e.g., personality traits, reading habits) among readers who tend to get absorbed.

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Katalin E. Bálint

Associate Professor, Department of Communication Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Katalin defended her PhD dissertation in 2012 in the field of Psychology at Pécs University (Hungary). She was a postdoc researcher at Utrecht University in an NWO-funded project entitled Varieties and Determinants of Absorption in Narrative Literature and Film (2012-2014). She taught and researched at University of Augsburg (Germany) at the department of Media, Knowledge and Communication (2014-2016). Afterwards, she joined the New Media Design track at the department of Communication and Cognition at Tilburg University (2017-2018).

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Melanie C. Green

Full Professor, Department of Communication, University at Buffalo, USA.

Melanie received her Ph.D. from Ohio State University. Her research examines how narratives change the way individuals think and behave, including the effects of fictional stories on real-world attitudes. Her theory of “transportation into a narrative world” focuses on immersion into a story as a mechanism of narrative influence. She has examined narrative persuasion in a variety of contexts, from health communication to social issues. She has edited two books on these topics (Narrative Impact and Persuasion: Psychological Insights and Perspectives, Second Edition) and published numerous articles in psychology, communication, and interdisciplinary journals. Her work focuses on transportation into a narrative world, including factors that encourage (or discourage) transportation.

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Shawn Douglas

PhD Candidate, Department of Psychology, University of Alberta, Canada.

Shawn completed his MSc at Trent University in Applied Modelling and Quantitative Methods. He is currently working on his dissertation, further exploring the relationship between metaphorical thinking and self-change following literary reading. His interest in narrative absorption is three-fold: (1) understanding how expressive and integrative thinking are at times at odds and at other times coordinated during absorbed reading; (2) how metaphorical thinking exemplifies, informs, and is informed by absorbed reading, and (3) how life stories are changed or augmented through interaction with literary texts.

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Don Kuiken

Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Alberta, Canada.

Don specializes in the study of dreams, aesthetics, and phenomenology. He has published journal articles and book chapters concerning self-transformation through significant dreams and significant reading experiences, both of which can be deeply “absorbing.” The notion guiding his research is that a metaphoric and enactive mode of engagement is at work during both impactful dreams and significant reading events. Phenomenological (“qualitative”) studies identified what Don calls expressive enactment (Kuiken, Miall, & Sikora, 2004; Kuiken, Sikora, & Miall, 2011). More recent psychometric efforts have made expressive enactment accessible through self-report measures administered when reading experiences are reaching their conclusion (Kuiken & Douglas, 2017). Current studies address the cumulative and “creative” metaphoricity through which expressive enactment precipitates transformative aesthetic outcomes (e.g., being moved, sublime feeling).

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Miruna Doicaru

Lecturer and Researcher, Academy of Digital Entertainment, NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands.

Miruna completed her PhD at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (University of Amsterdam). She now works as researcher and lecturer at NHTV. While exploring narrative absorption in film, she has tried to identify several types of experiences (narrative transportation, narrative engagement, suspense, curiosity, and surprise) and their determinants (narrative structure, film genre, viewer’s preference). She is developing new self-report tools to measure suspense and aesthetic appreciation. She distinguishes between story-world absorption (the story of a film as object of focused attention and emotional engagement) and artifact absorption (the film artifact as object of focused attention and emotional engagement.

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Birte A. K. Thissen

PhD Candidate, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Birte received an MSc degree from Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, in 2015. She then became a PhD candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, studying how so-called “flow experiences” contribute to the pleasure of reading fiction. Flow shares the notion of heightened attentional absorption and intrinsic enjoyment with narrative absorption and, although empirical research on this matter is still scarce, the theoretical link between these different approaches is plausible. In her current PhD project, Birte is gathering empirical evidence for the occurrence of flow during fiction reading and is developing and testing a self-report scale to capture flow during reading as well as investigating potential psychophysiological correlates of flow such as eye movement patterns.

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Federico Pianzola

Assistant Professor in Computational Humanities, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

Federico received a PhD in Italian Literature (U. of Florence/ U. of Cambridge) and then worked as a postdoc at the University of Milan-Bicocca (Italy) and at Sogang University (South Korea). His research concerns narrative theory and the impact of digital technologies on literature, especially regarding digital social reading. In one sentence, he uses computational, qualitative, and quantitative methods to study reader response. He is also a member of the scientific advisory board of OPERAS (the Research Infrastructure supporting open scholarly communication in the social sciences and humanities in the European Research Area), and a member of the governing board of IGEL.

Publications

  • Kuiken, D. (2022). Expressive challenge and the metaphoricity of literary reading. In S. Willemsen & M. Kiss (Eds.), Puzzling Stories: The aesthetic appeal of cognitive challenge in literature, film & television. Berhahn, in press.
  • Kuiken, D., & Sopčák, P. (2021). Openness, reflective engagement, and self-altering literary reading. In D. Kuiken & A. M. Jacobs (Eds.), Handbook of Empirical Literary Studies (pp. 305–342). De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110645958-013
  • Pianzola, F., Riva, G., Kukkonen, K., & Mantovani, F. (2021). Presence, Flow, and Narrative Absorption: An Interdisciplinary Theoretical Exploration with a New Spatiotemporal Integrated Model Based on Predictive Processing. Open Research Europe, 1(28), 1-25. https://doi.org/10.12688/openreseurope.13193.1
  • Pianzola, F. (2021). Presence, flow, and narrative absorption questionnaires: A scoping review. Open Research Europe, 1(11), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.12688/openreseurope.13277.1
  • Kuijpers, M. M., Douglas, S., & Kuiken, D. (2019). Personality Traits and Reading Habits that Predict Absorbed Narrative Fiction Reading. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, 13(1), 74–88. https://doi.org/10.1037/aca0000168.
  • Bálint, K. E. & Tan, E. S. H. (2019). Engagement with Characters. From Social Cognition Responses to the Experience with Fictional Constructions. In Johannes Riis and Aaron Taylor (Eds), Screening Characters: Theories of Character in Film, Television, and Interactive Media. Routledge.
  • Kuzmicova, A. & Bálint, K. E. (2019). Personal Relevance in Story Reading: A Research Review. Poetics Today, 40 (3): 429–451. https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-7558066
  • Rooney, B. & Bálint, K. E. (2018). Watching more closely: Shot scale affects film viewers’ theory-of-mind tendency but not ability. Frontiers of Psychology. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02349
  • Kuiken, D., & Douglas, S. (2018). Living metaphor as the site of bidirectional literary engagement. Scientific Study of Literature.
  • Kuiken, D., Porthukaran, A., Albrecht, K.-A., Douglas, S., & Cook, M. (2018). Metaphoric and associative aftereffects of impactful dreams. Dreaming, 28(1), 59-83. https://doi.org/10.1037/drm0000067
  • Kuiken, D., & Douglas, S. (2018). Living metaphor as the site of bidirectional literary engagement. Scientific Study of Literature, 8(1), 47–76. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.18004.kui
  • Kuiken, D., Porthukaran, A., Albrecht, K.-A., Douglas, S., & Cook, M. (2018). Metaphoric and associative aftereffects of impactful dreams. Dreaming, 28(1), 59-83. https://doi.org/10.1037/drm0000067
  • Pianzola, Federico, Katalin Bálint, and Jessica Weller. 2019. “Virtual Reality as a Tool for Promoting Reading via Enhanced Narrative Absorption and Empathy”. Scientific Study of Literature 9.2: 162–93. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.19013.pia
  • Thissen, B. K., Schlotz, W., & Menninghaus, W. (2018). Measuring optimal reading experiences: The Reading Flow Short Scale. Frontiers in Psychology 9, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02542
  • Kuiken, D., & Douglas, S. (2017). Forms of absorption that facilitate the aesthetic and explanatory effects of literary reading. In F. Hakemulder, M. Kuijpers, E. Tan, M. Doicaru, K. Balin, (Eds.) Narrative Absorption (pp. 217-249). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Kuiken, D., & Douglas, S. (2017). Identifying aspects of absorption that facilitate aesthetic response (pp. 217-249). In F. Hakemulder, M. Kuijpers, E. Tan, M. Doicaru, K. Bálint, (Eds.) Narrative Absorption. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Kuijpers, M. M., Hakemulder, F., Balint, K., Doicaru, M. M., & Tan, E. S. H. (2017). Towards a new understanding of absorbing reading experiences. In Hakemulder, F, Kuijpers, M. M., Tan, E. S. H., Balint, K., & Doicaru, M. M. (Eds.) Narrative Absorption (pp. 29-48). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Bálint, K. E., Kuijpers, M., Doicaru, M. (2017). The effect of suspense structure on felt suspense and narrative absorption in literary and filmic narratives. In Frank Hakemulder et al. (Eds), Narrative Absorption (pp. 177-197). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Tan, E., Doicaru, M. M., Hakemulder, F., Balint, K., & Kuijpers. M (2017). Into film: Does absorption in a movie’s story world pose a paradox? In F. Hakemulder, Kuijpers M. , Tan, E., Balint, K., & Doicaru, M. M. (Eds.), Narrative absorption (pp. 97-118). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Bálint, K. E, Hakemulder, F., Kuijpers, M., Doicaru, M., & Tan, E. S. (2016). Reconceptualizing foregrounding. Scientific Study of Literature, 6(2), 176-207.
  • Appel, M., Gnambs, R., Richter, T., & Green, M. C. (2015). The Transportation Scale - Short Form (TS-SF). Media Psychology, 18(2), 243-266.
  • Kuiken, D., & Douglas, S. (2015). Levels of analysis in neuroscientific studies of emotion: Comment on “The quartet theory of human emotions: an integrative and neurofunctional model” by S. Koelsch et al. Physics of Life Reviews, 13, 63–66. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plrev.2015.04.009
  • Kuijpers, M. M. (2014). Absorbing stories. The effects of textual devices on absorption and evaluative responses. Utrecht: Unpublished PhD thesis.
  • Kuijpers, M. M., Hakemulder, F, Doicaru, M. M., Tan, E. S. H. (2014). Exploring absorbing reading experiences: Developing and validating a self-report scale to measure story world absorption. Scientific Study of Literature, 4(1), 89-122.
  • Green, M. C., & Clark, J. M. (2013). Transportation into narrative worlds: Implications for entertainment media influences on tobacco use. Addiction, 108(3), 477-484.
  • Green, M. C., Chatham, C., & Sestir, M. (2012). Emotion and transportation into fact and fiction. Scientific Study of Literature, 2(1), 37-59.
  • Kuijpers, M. M. & Miall, D. S. (2011). Bodily Involvement in Literary Reading: An Experimental Study of Readers' Bodily Experiences during Reading. In F. Hakemulder (Eds.), De Stralende Lezer. Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek naar de Invloed van het Lezen (pp. 160-174). Delft: Eburon.
  • Sikora, S., Kuiken, D., & Miall, D. S. (2011). Expressive reading: A phenomenological study of readers’ experience of Coleridge’s ‘The rime of the ancient mariner.’ Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 5(3), 258–268. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021999
  • Sestir, M., & Green, M. C. (2010). You are who you watch: Identification and transportation effects on temporary self-concept. Social Influence, 5(4), 272-288.
  • Mazzocco, P. M., Green, M. C., Sasota, J. A, & Jones, N. W. (2010). This story is not for everyone: Transportability and narrative persuasion. Social Psychology and Personality Science, 1(4), 361-368.
  • Kuiken, D. (2008). A theory of expressive reading. In S. Zyngier, M. Bortolussi, A. Chesnokova, & J. Auracher (Eds.), Directions in Empirical Literary Studies: Essays in Honor of Willie van Peer (pp. 49–68). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  • Kuiken, D., Miall, D. S., & Sikora, S. (2004). Forms of self-implication in literary reading. Poetics Today, 25(2), 171–203. https://doi.org/doi:10.1215/03335372-25-2-171
  • Kuiken, D., Phillips, L., Gregus, M., Miall, D. S., Verbitsky, M., & Tonkonogy, A. (2004). Locating self-modifying feelings within literary reading. Discourse Processes, 38(2), 267–286. https://doi.org/DOI:10.1207/s15326950dp3802_6
  • Green, M. C., Strange, J. J., & Brock, T. C. (Eds.) (2002). Narrative Impact: Social and Cognitive Foundations. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Green, M. C., & Brock, T. C. (2000). The role of transportation in the persuasiveness of public narratives. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79(5), 701-721.

Resources

  • Story World Absorption Scale

  • Scoping review of 23 questionnaires used to measure presence, flow, narrative absorption, and similar concepts

    • Article describing the review process
    • Repository with with annotated items and summary model

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Culture, Cognition, and Literary Comprehension

Abstract

Amidst the growing influence of globalization, people all over the world now have more options to enjoy the same cultural products and read the same literary works. Why is it that globally influential works are able to be accepted and appreciated by people from different cultural backgrounds? Do readers from diverse cultural settings differ in the understanding of topics, characters and plots, or does culture shape the reading in some dimensions, but not in others? How does the conceptualization of L1 influence the literary comprehension of L2? These questions with regards to cross-cultural reading of literary works against the backdrop of globalization require more thorough investigation.

Literary comprehension is inference-based communication between recipients and texts. Literary texts stimulate the reader’s imagination by means of a structure of “indeterminacy.” Readers use their world knowledge and concepts within their narrative imagination to fill in the indirect description of plot development and role shaping. For this reason, the generation of meaning in literary comprehension is determined by readers' intentionality. It is often stated that language and culture influence the way we think. However, relatively little has been done to investigate how people in different cultures read differently and to what extent literature from different cultural areas has affinity rather than differences. The study on Culture, Cognition and Literary Comprehension explores the extent to which the common ground and literary elements cognitively and emotionally engage readers. The research is conducted under an interdisciplinary framework that involves concepts in psychology, theories in literary studies, and linguistic models.

Members

member

Yehong Zhang

Associate Professor, Director of Literature and Cognition Lab, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.

Yehong Zhang specializes in cognitive literary studies, cross-cultural empirical literary studies, narratology and literary theory. She has been Visiting Scholar at University of California, Berkeley, and the recipient of a Humboldt Research Fellowship. She is author of the book Erzählung, Kognition und Kultur (Narrative, Cognition and Culture) (mentis, 2011) and editor for the Special Issue Cross-Cultural Reading of A&HCI Journal Comparative Literature Studies (2017). She has led projects on empirical literary study of cross-cultural reading with national grants, and is currently working on a book about cognitive literary studies and cross-cultural narrative comprehension.

member

Anna Chesnokova

Professor, English Philology and Translation Department, Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University, Ukraine.

Anna Chesnokova is Professor of the English Philology and Translation Department at Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University, Ukraine. She has published on Stylistics and Empirical Studies of Literature. She has co-edited Acting & Connecting. Cultural Approaches to Language and Literature (LIT Verlag, 2007) and Directions in Empirical Literary Studies (John Benjamins, 2008) as well as contributed chapters to The International Reception of Emily Dickinson (Continuum Press, 2009), Cases on Distance Delivery and Learning Outcomes: Emerging Trends and Programs (in collaboration, IGI Global, 2009), Teaching Stylistics (in collaboration, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and Scientific Approaches to Literature in Learning Environments (John Benjamins, 2016).

member

Jan Auracher

Center for Language Studies, National University of Singapore.

Jan Auracher received his doctoral degree in Germanic Studies and European Ethnology from the University of Munich, Germany. He then worked as Lecturer and Assistant Professor for German language and culture in Japan. His research interest is at the interface between the computer-linguistic analysis of texts and the psychological assessment of readers’ responses. Jan published articles on the interplay between narrative style and the experience of suspense, on phono-semantic congruencies in poems, and on the influence of stereotypes on readers’ assessment of fictional characters.

member

Atsushi Iida

Associate Professor of English, University Education Center, Gunma University, Japan.

Atsushi Iida was awarded his Ph.D. in English (Composition and TESOL) at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include second language writing, poetry writing, literature in second language education, and writing for academic publication. He has published his work in various journals including Assessing Writing, System, Qualitative Inquiry, Scientific Study of Literature, English Teaching Forum, and Asian EFL Journal.

Publications

  • Iida, A. (2018). Living in darkness at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake: A poetic-narrative autoethnography. Qualitative Inquiry, 24(4), 270-280. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800417745917
  • Chesnokova, A., Zyngier, S., Viana, V., Jandre, J., Rumbesht, A. & Ribeiro F. (2017). Cross-cultural reader response to original and translated poetry: An empirical study in four languages. Comparative Literature Studies 54(4), 824–849. https://doi.org/10.5325/complitstudies.54.4.0824.
  • van Peer, W. & Chesnokova, A. (2017). Literariness in readers’ experience. Further developments in empirical research and theory. Science and Education, 11, 5–17. https://doi.org/10.24195/2414-4665-2017-11-1.
  • Shurma, S. & Chesnokova, A. (2017). Emily Dickinson’s poetry in Russian and Ukrainian translation: Synaesthetic shift. Vertimo studijos (Translation Studies) 10, 95–119. https://doi.org/10.15388/VertStud.2017.10.11291.
  • Zhang, Y., & Lauer, G. (eds.) (2017): Cross-Cultural Reading. Special Issue of Comparative Literature Studies, 54(4). http://dx.doi.org/10.5325/complitstudies.54.4.0693
  • Zhang, Y. (2017). Interdisciplinary study on cross-cultural poetry reading. Comparative Literature Studies, 54(4), 850-868. http://dx.doi.org/10.5325/complitstudies.54.4.0850
  • Auracher, J. (2017). Sound iconicity of abstract concepts: Place of articulation is implicitly associated with abstract concepts of size and social dominance. PLOS ONE, 12(11), e0187196. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0187196
  • Auracher, J. & Hirose, A. (2017). The influence of reader’s stereotypes on the assessment of fictional characters. Comparative Literary Studies, 54(4). https://doi.org/10.5325/complitstudies.54.4.0795
  • Auracher, J. & Bosch, H. (2016). Showing with words: The influence of language concreteness on suspense. Scientific Study of Literature, 6(2), 208-242. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.6.2.03aur
  • Chesnokova, A. (2016). Empirical stylistics in an EFL teaching context: Comparing virtual and face-to-face reading responses (105–124). In: M. Burke, O. Fialho & S. Zyngier, (eds.). Scientific Approaches to Literature in Learning Environments. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins. DOI 10.1075/lal.24.06che.
  • Chesnokova, A. & van Peer, W. (2016). Anyone came to live here some time ago: A cognitive semiotics approach to deviation as a foregrounding device. Versus: Quaderni di studi semiotici,122, 5–22.
  • Iida, A. (2016). Identity in second language writing: Exploring an EFL learner’s study abroad experience. Eurasian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 2(1), 1-14.
  • Iida, A. (2016). Exploring earthquake experiences: A study of second language learners’ ability to express and communicate deeply traumatic events in poetic form. System, 57, 120-133. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2016.02.004
  • Auracher, J. (2015): Synaesthetic sound iconicity – Phonosemantic associations between acoustic features of phonemes and emotional behavior. In: M. K. Hiraga, W. J. Herlofsky, K. Shinohara, & K. Akita (eds.), Iconicity: East Meets West (93-108). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1075/ill.14.05aur
  • Zhang, Y., & Lauer, G. (2015). How culture shapes the reading of fairy tales: A cross-cultural approach. Comparative Literature Studies, 52(4), 663-681. http://dx.doi.org/10.5325/complitstudies.52.4.0663
  • Iida, A. (2012). The value of poetry writing: Cross-genre literacy development in a second language. Scientific Study of Literature, 2, 60-82. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/ssol.2.1.04iid.
  • Zhang, Y. (2011): Erzählung, Kognition und Kultur (Narrative, Cognition and Culture). Muenster: Mentis. [Monograph]
  • Zhang, Y. (2011). Embodied mind and cross-cultural narrative patterns. In: M. Callies, W. R. Keller and A. Lohoefer (eds.): Bi-Directionality of Cognitive Sciences. Avenues, Challenges, and Limitations. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 171-180. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/hcp.30.11zha
  • Auracher, J., Albers, S., Zhai, Y., et al (2011). P for happiness / N for Sadness – Universals in sound symbolism to detect emotions in poetry. Discourse Processes, 48(1), 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1080/01638531003674894
  • Auracher, J. (2009): Measuring beauty - EEG measurements in stylistics. Doshisha Studies in Language and Culture, 12(2), 369-393.
  • Zhang, Y. (2008). Culture and Reading. Cultural thought systems on the understanding of fairy tales (218-237). In: J. Auracher & W. van Peer (eds.), New Beginnings in Literary Studies. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholar Publishing.
  • Auracher, J., Schwaiger, M., & Tiourikov , A. (2007). Say it again: Ideas regarding the use of internet cooperation for academic education. In S. Zyngier & A. Chesnokova (eds.), Intercultural Studies of Literature and the Media (203-218). Berlin: LIT-Verlag.
  • Zyngier, S., Chesnokova, A. & Viana, V. (eds.) (2007). Acting and Connecting: Cultural Approaches to Language and Literature. Munster: LIT Verlag.
  • Zyngier, S., Bortolussi, M., Chesnokova, A. & Auracher, J. (eds.) (2008). Directions in Empirical Literary Studies: In Honor of Willie van Peer. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1075/lal.
  • Iida, A. (2008). Poetry writing as expressive pedagogy in an EFL context: Identifying possible assessment tools for haiku poetry in EFL freshman college writing. Assessing Writing 13, 171-179. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.asw.2008.10.001

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Aesthetic and Expressive Effects

Self-Transcendent Effects of Digital Media (e.g., Film)

Abstract

Research in media psychology has historically tended to focus on the harmful effects of viewing (e.g., increases in aggression, heightened prejudice, unhealthy behaviors, etc.). However, over the last decade, an increasing number of scholars have turned their attention to “positive” media psychology, noting the ways in which media may inspire its audiences, may move viewers to heightened compassion and tenderness, and may ultimately serve as the catalyst for pro-social outcomes. This research coalition focuses recent and ongoing scholarship in this area, pointing to the various ways that “being moved” has been conceptualized and tested, including concepts such as appreciation, eudaimonic fulfillment, elevation, self-transcendence, poignancy, kama muta, and awe, among others. We are also interested in the challenges that scholars may face when attempting to harness to the pro-social potentials of inspiring media, and particularly so in the contemporary and rapidly evolving media landscape, and also in the context of “darker” uses of inspiration, such as their use for purposes such as marketing and in maintaining or strengthening in-group ties. We further consider the potential ways that these challenges may be addressed through the use of newer media technologies.

Members

member

Mary Beth Oliver

Distinguished Professor, Co-Director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory, Bellisario College of Communications, Pennsylvania State University, USA.

Mary Beth’s research is in media psychology (with emphasis on individuals’ emotional responses to media), positive media psychology, and media and social cognition. She is a Research Fellow and recipient of the Aubrey Fisher Mentorship Award from the International Communication Association.

member

Art Raney

James E. Kirk Professor of Communication, Florida State University, USA.

Art Raney’s research primarily examines enjoyment of various media entertainment content, with specific attention to the role morality plays in those processes. He recently served as the principal investigator on a three-year project funded by the John Templeton Foundation to examine how self-transcendent emotions are elicited by and experienced with media content and how those experiences may promote character building, well-being, and prosociality.

member

Anne Bartsch

Professor of Communication, University of Leipzig, Germany.

Anne Bartsch specializes in research on media uses and effects, with special focus on media entertainment and emotional media effects. Her work has been published in Journal of Communication, Communication Research, and Media Psychology (among others).

member

Tilo Hartmann

Associate Professor, Department of Communication Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Tilo Hartmann applies media-psychological approaches and methodology to studies of the experience and perceptions of media users, including entertainment, mediated illusions, and media users’ choices and preferences.

member

Michael D. Slater

Social and Behavioral Science Distinguished Professor, Director of the School of Communication, Ohio State University, USA.

Michael Slater’s research includes theory-building efforts in narrative influences (Temporarily Expanded Boundaries of the Self and Mediated Wisdom of Experience), persuasion (Extended Elaboration Likelihood Model) and dynamic processes of media selection, media effects, and maintenance of personal and social identity (the Reinforcing Spirals Model), with particular interest in health outcomes.

member

Sophie H. Janicke-Bowles

Assistant Professor, School of Communication, Chapman University, USA.

Sophie Janicke-Bowles’s research and teaching are in the field of positive psychology, spirituality and media, new technologies, and happiness. She has been exploring how people use and are impacted by media content that elicits self-transcendent emotions such as awe, elevation, gratitude, and compassion. Broadly speaking, she researches the role new and traditional media play in fostering well-being.

member

Frank M. Schneider

Post-Doctoral Researcher, Institute for Media and Communication Studies, University of Mannheim, Germany.

Frank M. Schneider’s research interests include digital communication, entertainment and political communication research, communication processes and effects, and research methods.

member

Diana Rieger

Assistant Professor for Digital Communication, University of Mannheim, Germany.

Diana Rieger serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Media Psychology. Her research focuses on the processes and effects of various (hedonic and eudaimonic) media fare, e.g. challenging situations.

member

Robin Nabi

Professor of Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.

Robin Nabi’s research focuses on the influence of emotion on media message processing and effects. She has published numerous articles and book chapters, and she co-edited the SAGE Handbook of Media Processes and Effects. She has served as managing editor of the Media Psychology journal, as associate editor of Journal of Communication, and on the editorial board of numerous communication journals.

member

Katherine Dale

Postdoctoral Scholar, School of Communication, Florida State University, USA.

Katherine Dale’s research interests include positive media psychology, media effects, and intergroup interaction. She is particularly interested in how media affect the way we see and experience the world.

member

Jessica Myrick

Associate Professor, Media Studies and Science Communication, Bellisario College of Communications, Pennsylvania State University, USA.

Jessica Myrick’s research examines the roles of different emotions in shaping audience responses to health, science and environmental messages.

member

Nicole Krämer

Professor of Social Psychology, Media and Communication, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.

Nicole Krämer, recipient of the venia legendi for psychology in 2006, studies social psychological aspects of computer-mediated-communication (e.g., social media effects on emotions and stereotypes).

member

Meghan S. Sanders

Associate Professor, G. Lee Griffin Distinguished Professorship, Manship School of Mass Communication, USA.

Meghan Sanders' scholarship focuses on the psychological effects of mass media, especially as they pertain to emotion, psychological and subjective well-being, and enjoyment and appreciation of entertainment. In addition to her faculty role, Sanders serves as director of the Media Effects Laboratory.

member

Enny Das

Professor of Communication & Persuasion, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Enny Das' research examines the interplay between message characteristics and receiver responses, with a particular focus on emotion. Current projects focus on the impact of existential narratives in times of grief, the role of language in doctor-patient communication, and computational approaches in the health domain.

member

Marie-Louise Mares

Professor, Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.

Marie-Louise Mares' research focuses on life-span developmental changes in media uses and responses, with an emphasis on positive, pro-social outcomes.

Publications

  • Oliver, M. B., & Raney, A. A. (2019). Positive media psychology: Emerging scholarship and a roadmap for emerging technologies. In J. A. MuVelaquez & C. Pulido (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Positive Communication. New York: Routledge.
  • Krämer, N. C., Neubaum, G., Winter, S., Rösner, L., Eimler, S. & Oliver, M. B. (2019). I feel what they say: The effect of social media comments on viewers' affective reactions toward elevating online videos. Media Psychology, 24(3), 332-358.
  • Oliver, M. B., Raney, A. A., Slater, M., Appel, M., Hartmann, T., Bartsch, A., Schneider, F., Janicke-Bowles, S. H., Krämer, N., Mares, M. L., Vorderer, P., Rieger, D., Dale, K. R., & Das, H. H. J. (2018). Self-transcendent media experiences: Taking meaningful media to a higher level. Journal of Communication, 68, 380-389. https://doi.org/ 10.1093/joc/jqx020
  • Raney, A. A., Janicke, S. H., Oliver, M. B., Dale, K. R., Jones, R. P., & Cox, D. (2018). Profiling the audience for self-transcendent media: A national survey. Mass Communication and Society. Article first published online January 10, 2018. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15205436.2017.1413195
  • Bartsch, A., Oliver, M. B., Nitsch, C., & Scherr, S. (2018). Inspired by the Paralympics. Effects of empathy on audience interest in para-sports and on the destigmatization of persons with disabilities. Communication Research. https://doi.org/ 10.1177/0093650215626984
  • Slater, M.D., Oliver, M.B., Appel, M., Tchernev, J., & Silver, N. (2018). Mediated wisdom of experience revisited: Delay discounting, acceptance of death, and closeness to future self. Human Communication Research.
  • Slater, M.D., Ewoldsen, D.R., & Woods, K. (2018). Extending conceptualization and measurement of narrative engagement after-the-fact: Parasocial relationship and retrospective imaginative involvement. Media Psychology.
  • Raney, A. A., Janicke, S. H., Oliver, M. B., Dale, K. R., Jones, R. P., & Cox, D. (2018). Profiling the sources of and audiences for inspiring media content: A national survey. Mass Communication and Society, 21(3), 296-319. https://doi.org/10.1080/15205436.2017.1413195
  • Wulf, T., Rieger, D., & Schmitt, J. (2018). Blissed by the past: Theorizing media-induced nostalgia as an audience response factor for entertainment and well-being. Poetics.
  • Janicke, S. H., Rieger, D., & Connor, W. (2018). Finding meaning at work: The role of inspiring and funny YouTube videos on work-related well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, Online First. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-018-9959-1
  • Nabi, R. L., & Myrick, J. G. (2018). Uplifting fear appeals: Considering the role of hope in fear-based persuasive messages. Health Communication, 1-12.
  • Raney, A. A., Janicke, S. H., Oliver, M. B., Dale, K. R., Jones, R. P., & Cox, D. (2018). Profiling the audience for self-transcendent media: A national survey. Mass Communication and Society. Article first published online January 10, 2018. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15205436.2017.1413195
  • Oliver, M. B., Ferchaud, A., Yang, C., Huang, Y., & Bailey, E. (2017). Absorption and meaningfulness: Examining the relationship between eudaimonic media use and engagement. In F. Hakemulder & M. Kuijpers (Eds.). Handbook of narrative absorption. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  • Dale, K. R., Raney, A. A., Janicke, S. H., Sanders, M. S., & Oliver, M. B. (2017). YouTube for good: A content analysis and examination of elicitors of self-transcendent media. Journal of Communication, 67(6), 897-919. https://doi.org/ 10.1111/jcom.12333
  • Bartsch, A., & Hartmann, T. (2017). The role of cognitive and affective challenge in entertainment experience. Communication Research 44(1), 29-53. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650214565921
  • Janicke, S.H. Rieger, D., Reinecke, L., & Connor III, W (2017). Watching online videos at work: The role of positive and meaningful affect for recovery experiences and well-being at the workplace. Mass Communication Society. 1-23. https://doi.org/10.1080/15205436.2017.1381264
  • Janicke, S. H., & Ramasubramanian, S. (2017). Spiritual media experiences, trait transcendence and enjoyment of popular films. Journal of Media and Religion, 16(2), 51-66. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15348423.2017.1311122
  • Janicke, S. H. & Oliver, M. B. (2017). The relationship between elevation, connectedness and compassionate love in meaningful films. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 6(3), 274-289. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000105
  • Roth, F. S., Weinmann, C., Schneider, F. M., Hopp, F. R., Bindl, M. J., & Vorderer, P. (2017). Curving entertainment: The curvilinear relationship between hedonic and eudaimonic experiences while watching a political talk show and its implications for information processing. Psychology of Popular Media Culture. Advance online publication . https://doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000147
  • Schneider, F. M., Bartsch, A., & Oliver, M. B. (2017). Factorial validity and measurement invariance of the Appreciation, Fun, and Suspense scales across US-American and German samples. Journal of Media Psychology. Advance online publication . https://doi.org/10.1027/1864-1105/a000236
  • Weinmann, C., Roth, F. S., Schneider, F. M., Kramer, T., Hopp, F. R., Bindl, M. J., & Vorderer, P. (2017). I don’t care about politics, I just like that guy! Affective disposition and political attributes in information processing of political talk shows. International Journal of Communication, 11, 3118-3140. http://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/5800
  • Rieger, D. (2017). Meaning, mortality salience and media use. In L. Reinecke & M. B. Oliver (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Media Use and Well-Being: International Perspectives on Theory and Research on Positive Media Effects (S. 93-105). New York: Routledge.
  • Rieger, D. & Hofer, M. (2017). How meaningful movies can ease the fear of death: Integrating perspectives of eudaimonic entertainment and terror management. Mass Communication & Society, 20(5), 710-733. https://doi.org/ 10.1080/15205436.2017.1300666
  • Nabi, R. L., D. Perez Torres, D., & Prestin, A. (2017). Guilty pleasure no more: The relative importance of media use for coping with stress. Journal of Media Psychology.
  • Myrick, J. G. (2017). Public perceptions of celebrity cancer deaths: How identification and emotions shape cancer stigma and behavioral intentions. Health Communication, 32(11), 1385-1395. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2016.1224450
  • Myrick, J. G. (2017). Identification and emotions experienced after a celebrity cancer death shape information sharing and prosocial behavior. Journal of Health Communication, 22(6), 515-522.
  • Das, E., Nobbe, T., & Oliver, M.B. (2017). Moved to act: Examining the role of mixed affect and cognitive elaboration in “accidental” narrative persuasion. International Journal of Communication, 11, 4907-4923.
  • Myrick, J. G. (2017). Public perceptions of celebrity cancer deaths: How identification and emotions shape cancer stigma and behavioral intentions. Health Communication, 32(11), 1385-1395. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2016.1224450
  • Bartsch, A., & Oliver, M. B. (2016). Appreciation of meaningful entertainment experiences and eudaimonic well-being. In. L. Reinecke & M. B. Oliver (Eds.). Handbook of media use and well-being: International perspectives on theory and research on positive media effects (pp. 80-92). New York: Routledge.
  • Janicke, S. H., & Raney, A. A. (2016). Media, spirituality, and well-being. In L. Reinecke, & M. B. Oliver (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Media Use and Well-Being (pp. 355-367). New York: Routledge.
  • Schneider, F. M., Weinmann, C., Roth, F. S., Knop, K., & Vorderer, P. (2016). Learning from entertaining online video clips? Enjoyment and appreciation and their differential relationships with knowledge and behavioral intentions. Computers in Human Behavior, 54, 475-482. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.08.028
  • Weinmann, C., Schneider, F. M., Roth, F. S., Bindl, M. J., & Vorderer, P. (2016). Testing measurement invariance of hedonic and eudaimonic entertainment experiences across media formats. Communication Methods and Measures, 10, 248-257. https://doi.org/10.1080/19312458.2016.1227773
  • Nabi, R. L., & Prestin, A. (2016). Unrealistic hope vs. unnecessary fear: Exploring how sensationalistic news stories influence health behavioral motivation. Health Communication.
  • Nabi, R. L., Prestin, A., & So, J. (2016). Could watching TV be good for you? Examining how media consumption patterns relate to salivary cortisol. Health Communication.
  • Krämer, N. C., Eimler, S. C., Neubaum, G., Winter, S., Rösner, L., & Oliver, M. B. (2016). Broadcasting one world: How watching elevating online videos can trigger a sense of universal orientation and a reduction of social stereotypes. New Media & Society. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444816639963
  • Kyewski, E., Szczuka, J. M., & Krämer, N. C., (2016). The protagonist, my Facebook friend: How cross-media extensions are changing the concept of parasocial interaction. Psychology of Popular Media Culture. Advance online publication. doi.org: 10.1037/ppm0000109
  • Neubaum, G. & Krämer, N. C. (2016). My friends right next to me: A laboratory investigation on predictors and consequences of experiencing social closeness on social networking sites. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 18, 443-449.
  • Mares, M.L., Bartsch, A., Bonus, J. A., (2016). When meaning matters more: Media preferences across the adult life-span. Psychology and Aging, 31, 513-531.
  • Schneider, F. M., Weinmann, C., Roth, F. S., Knop, K., & Vorderer, P. (2016). Learning from entertaining online video clips? Enjoyment and appreciation and their differential relationships with knowledge and behavioral intentions. Computers in Human Behavior, 54, 475-482. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.08.028
  • Oliver, M. B., Ash, E., Kim, K., Woolley, J. K., Hoewe, J., Shade, D. D., & Chung, M.-Y. (2015). Media-induced elevation as a means of enhancing feelings of intergroup connectedness. Journal of Social Issues, 71, 106-122. https://doi.org/ 10.1111/josi.12099.
  • Oliver, M. B., & Woolley, J. K. (2015). Meaningfulness and entertainment: Fiction and reality in the land of evolving technologies. In H. Wang (Ed.), Communication and the “good life", (pp. 45-60). New York: Peter Lang.
  • Eden, A., Hartmann, T. & Reinecke, L. (2015). Tuning in versus zoning out: The role of ego-depletion in selective exposure to challenging media. In H. Wang (Ed.). Communication and the “good life”, (International Communication Association Theme Book Series, Vol. 2), pp. 107-126. New York et al.: Peter Lang.
  • Rieger, D., Frischlich, L., Hagden, F., Schramm, K., Kauf, R., & Tappe, E. (2015). Appreciation in the face of death: Meaningful films buffer against death-related anxiety. Journal of Communication, 65(2), 351-372. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12152
  • Nabi, R. L. (2015). Emotional flow in persuasive health messages. Health Communication, 30, 114-124.
  • Nabi, R. L., & Green, M. C. (2015). The role of a narrative’s emotional flow in promoting persuasive outcomes. Media Psychology, 18, 137-162.
  • Myrick, J. G. & Oliver, M. B. (2015). Laughing and crying: Mixed emotions, compassion, and the effectiveness of a YouTube PSA about skin cancer. Health Communication, 30(8), 820-829. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2013.845729
  • Tsay-Vogel, M., & Sanders, M. S. (2015). Fandom and its relationship to affective, cognitive, and behavioral audience responses: Examining the connection of fans to the World of Harry Potter. Psychology of Popular Media Culture [online first].
  • Bartsch, A., Kalch, A., & Oliver, M. B. (2014). Moved to think. The role of emotional media experi-ences in stimulating reflective thoughts. Journal of Media Psychology, 26(3),125-140. https://doi.org/ 10.1027/1864-1105/a000118
  • Bartsch, A., & Mares M.-L. (2014). Making sense of violence. Perceived meaningfulness as a predictor of audience interest in violent media content. Journal of Communication, 64(5), 956-976. https://doi.org/ 10.1111/jcom.12112
  • Bartsch, A., & Schneider, F. M. (2014). Entertainment and politics revisited: How non-escapist forms of entertainment can stimulate political interest and information seeking. Journal of Communication, 64(3), 369-396. https://doi.org/ 10.1111/jcom.12095
  • Reinecke, L., Hartmann, T., & Eden, A.L. (2014). The guilty couch potato: The role of ego-depletion in reducing recovery through media use. Journal of Communication, 64(4), 569-589.
  • Oliver, M.B., Bartsch, A., & Hartmann, T. (2014). Negative emotions and the meaningful sides of media entertainment. In Parrott, W.G. (Ed.). The Positive Side of Negative Emotions (pp. 224 - 246). New York: Guilford Press.
  • Slater, M.D., Johnson, B.K., Cohen, J., Comello, M.L.G., & Ewoldsen, D.R. (2014). Temporarily expanding the boundaries of the self: Motivations for entering the story world and implications for narrative effects. Journal of Communication, 64, 439-455.
  • Roth, F. S., Weinmann, C., Schneider, F. M., Hopp, F., & Vorderer, P. (2014). Seriously entertained: Antecedents and consequences of hedonic and eudaimonic entertainment experiences with political talk shows on TV. Mass Communication and Society, 17, 379-399. https://doi.org/10.1080/15205436.2014.891135
  • Rieger, D., Reinecke, L., Frischlich, L., & Bente, G. (2014). Media entertainment and well-being – Linking hedonic and eudaimonic entertainment experience to media-induced recovery and vitality. Journal of Communication, 64(3), 456-478. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12097
  • Nabi, R. L., & Keblusek, L. (2014). Inspired by hope, motivated by envy: Comparing the effects of discrete emotions in the process of social comparison to media figures. Media Psychology, 17, 208-234.
  • Das, E., Duiven, R., Arendsen, J.L., & Vermeulen, I.E. (2014). Exploring killer ads: A terror management account of death in advertisements. Psychology & Marketing, 31(10), 828-842.
  • Hartmann, T. (2013). Media entertainment as a result of recreation and psychological growth. In E. Scharrer (Eds.), Media Effects/Media Psychology (Vol. 5). The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies (pp. 170-188), A. Valdivia (Gen. Ed.). Boston, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Chung, A.H. & Slater, M.D. (2013). Reducing stigma and out-group distinctions through perspective-taking in narratives. Journal of Communication, 63, 894-911.
  • Bartsch, A. (2012). Emotional gratification in entertainment experience. Why viewers of movies and television series find it rewarding to experience emotions. Media Psychology, 15(3), 267-302. https://doi.org/ 10.1080/15213269.2012.693811
  • Das, E., Vonkeman, C., & Hartmann, T. (2012). Mood as a resource in dealing with health recommendations: How mood affects information processing and acceptance of quit-smoking messages. Psychology & Health, 27(1), 116-127.
  • Oliver, M. B., & Raney, A. A. (2011). Entertainment as pleasurable and meaningful: Differentiating hedonic and eudaimonic motivations for entertainment consumption. Journal of Communication, 61(5), 984-1004.
  • Oliver, M. B., & Bartsch, A. (2010). Appreciation as audience response: Exploring entertainment gratifications beyond hedonism. Human Communication Research, 36(1), 53-81. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2958.2009.01368.x
  • Das, E., Bushman, B. J., Bezemer, M. D., Kerkhof, P., & Vermeulen, I. E. (2009). How terrorism news reports increase prejudice against outgroups: A terror management account. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 453-459.
  • Das, E., & Fennis, B. M. (2008). In the mood to face the facts: When a positive mood increases systematic processing of self-threatening messages. Motivation and Emotion, 32, 221-230.
  • Mares, M. L., Oliver, M. B., & Cantor, J. (2008). Age differences in adults’ emotional motivations for exposure to films. Media Psychology, 11, 488-511.
  • Slater, M.D., Rouner, D., & Long, M.A. (2006). Television dramas and support for controversial public policies: Effects and mechanisms. Journal of Communication, 56, 235-252.
  • Slater, M.D. & Rouner, D. (2002). Entertainment-education and elaboration-likelihood: Understanding the processing of narrative persuasion. Communication Theory, 12, 173-191.
  • Slater, M. (1990). Processing social information in messages: Social group familiarity, fiction/non-fiction labels, and subsequent beliefs. Communication Research, 17, 327-343.

Resources

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Openness, Intensive Reflection, and Self-altering Literary Reading

Abstract

Studies involving quite different research paradigms have demonstrated that literary reading sometimes changes readers’ sense of themselves and their lived world. Interviews inviting extended self-narration provide evidence that extended engagement with literary texts can precipitate intensive self-reflection and changes in worldview (e.g., Fialho, 2012; Tangerås, 2018). Also, experimental studies that systemically vary reading conditions (e.g., text genres) indicate that engagement with literary (vs. non-literary) texts supports changes in self-relevant attitudes and beliefs (e.g., Dijkic et al., 2009). And, studies that assess modes of reading engagement indicate that open reflection within a distinctively “close” mode of reading engagement triggers “moving” shifts in text comprehension and self-understanding (e.g., Kuiken & Douglas, 2018; Menninghaus et al., 2015). Some evidence reported in these studies suggests that such changes occur especially during transitional or critical life events. There is increased clarity about the processes by which literary reading jointly influences readers’ understanding of themselves and the world of the text. For example, readers might gain fresh insights into themselves as well as into fictional and real others (Fialho, 2019), motivated by “defamiliarizing” perceptions of formal and narrative textual features (Koopman & Hakemulder, 2015). Readers might also consider alternative conceptions of self through openly receptive engagement with aspects of text that afford improvisational “performance” of the experienced world of the text (Kuiken & Douglas, 2018). Besides comparatively evaluating these models, researchers in this area are prepared to entertain contributions of further interview studies of readers during life transitions, experimental studies of variations in reading contexts, and process-oriented studies of moment by moment reading activities (and their physiological or behavioral concomitants; e.g., Wassiliwizky et al., 2018). They have also contributed with growing evidence that openness and self-altering reading might not only be fostered by what we read, but especially by how we approach (i.e., instructions) literary fiction reading (e.g. Fialho, Zyngier, & Miall, 2011, 2012; Schrijvers et al., 2019).

Members

member

Olivia Fialho

Lecturer in Comparative Literature, Department of Languages, Literature and Communication, Utrecht University; Researcher in Literary Studies at the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Olivia is a literary scholar specializing in the fields of comparative, empirical, cognitive, and digital literary studies. She investigates the phenomenology, preconditions, and underlying processes through which literary narrative fiction deepens perceptions of self and others. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on self-modifying reading (University of Alberta, 2012). In her postdoctoral studies, she developed “Transformative Reading”, an empirical and cognitive approach to literary reading, focusing on experiencing literature. It argues that the essence of literature (and the arts) lies in its power to impart knowledge about ourselves and other human beings by allowing us to connect more deeply and conscientiously with our emotions, improving our social functioning. It is an evidence-based program, demonstrably effective in fostering readers’ insights into self and others and eudaimonic reasons for reading. It has been successfully applied in Education (primary and higher secondary levels) and Business. Her research has been awarded prizes and fellowships for ten consecutive years, including a grant by the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research (NWO). It has been featured in the cultural sections of the NRK and Klassekampen, and the Humanities webpage of the University of Oslo.

member
Maja Djikic

Associate Professor and Director of Self-Development Laboratory at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Canada.

Maja is a psychologist specializing in the field of personality development. Her work examines the effect of literature on personality and as a means of developing a congruent and flexible self. She has published more than 30 articles and book chapters in the area of self-development. Her research examines how literature facilitates transformation of self by gently destabilizing personality structure, and thus providing a dynamic intra-personal space within which change can happen. This research points to the functional importance of exposure to literature and other arts as accessible and salutary facilitators of life-long self-development. Her research has been featured in The New York Times, Salon, Slate, The Scientific American Mind, and many other media outlets.

member
Thor Magnus Tangerås

Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Literary Communication, Department of Communication, Westerdals School of Arts, Kristiania University College, Oslo, Norway.

Thor has a Cand. Philol. Degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Bergen (Norway) and UC Berkeley (USA). His PhD in Library and Information Science was entitled, “How Literature Changed my Life”: A Hermeneutically Oriented Narrative Inquiry into Transformative Experiences of Reading Imaginative Literature." His research interests include transformative aesthetic experiences, literature and health, hermeneutics, and narrative methods. He is examining readers’ accounts of how the encounter with a particular work of fiction or poetry are life-changing. He is developing a theory of the relationships between life-crises, aesthetic categories, affective patterns, literary proto-genres, and conceptions of change.

member
Don Kuiken

Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Alberta, Canada.

Don specializes in the study of dreams, aesthetics, and phenomenology. He has published journal articles and book chapters concerning self-transformation through significant dreams and significant reading experiences. The notion guiding his research is that a metaphoric and expressive mode of engagement (called expressive enactment) is at work during both impactful dreams and significant reading events. Current studies address the cumulative and “creative” metaphoricity through which expressive enactment precipitates transformative aesthetic outcomes (e.g., being moved, sublime feeling).

member
David S. Miall

Professor, Department of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta, Canada (in memoriam).

David has long been interested in the literariness of literary texts, what appears to make them distinctively literary. Several components help to secure this effect: stylistics, unusual textual features (e.g., repetition, figurative language, etc.), feelings that, once aroused, tend to create empathy or repulsion towards a fictional character and to wider concerns, such as emotion, or the role of relationships, i.e., the intimate other. The issues raised by this approach lead at times to a wider interest, that of aesthetics, the formal characteristics that we recognize in the work of art as a whole.

Publications

  • Fialho, O. (2022 forthcoming). Transformative Reading. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Fialho, O. (2019) What is literature for? The role of transformative reading. Contribution to a special issue The place of the cognitive in literary studies, edited by Karin Kukkonen, Anežka Kuzmičová, Steen Ledet Christiansen, and Merja Polvinen.In Cogent Arts & Humanities, 6(1), https://doi.org/10.1080/23311983.2019.1692532
  • Schrijvers, M., Janssen, T., Fialho, O., De Maeyer, S., & Rijlaarsdam, G. (2019). Transformative dialogic literature teaching fosters adolescents’ insight into human nature. Learning and Instruction, 63, 1-15. https://10.0.3.248/j.learninstruc.2019.101216
  • Schrijvers, M., Janssen, T., Fialho, O., & Rijlaarsdam, G. (2019). Toward the validation of a literature classroom intervention to foster adolescents' insights into human nature: an iterative design process. Contribution to the special issue Systematically designed literature classroom interventions: Design principles, development and implementation, edited by Marloes Schrijvers, Karen Murphy, and Gert Rijlaarsdam. In L1 - educational studies in language and literature. https://l1.publication-archive.com/publication/1/1592
  • Schrijvers, M., Janssen, T., Fialho, O., & Rijlaarsdam, G. (2019). Gaining insight into human nature: A review of literature classroom intervention studies. Review of Educational Research, 89(1), 3–45. https://doi.org/10.3102%2F0034654318812914
  • Djikic, M., & Oatley, K. (2017). The Weary Voyager Model of creativity in relation to self. In M. Karwowski, & J. C. Kaufman (Eds.) The Creative Self: Effect of beliefs, self-efficacy, mindset, and identity (pp. 327-342). Cambridge, U. S.: Academic Press.
  • Schrijvers, M., Janssen, T., Fialho, O., & Rijlaarsdam, G. (2016). The impact of literature education on students’ perceptions of self and others: Exploring personal and social learning experiences in relation to teacher approach. Contribution to a special issue The role of writing in literature education, edited by Tanja Janssen and Irene Pieper. In L1 - educational studies in language and literature, 16, 1–37. https://doi.org/10.17239/L1ESLL-2016.16.04.0
  • Djikic, M., & Oatley, K. (2014). The art in fiction: From indirect communication to changes of the self. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 8(4), 498-505. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0037999
  • Djikic, M., Oatley, K., & Moldoveanu, M.C. (2013a). Opening the closed mind: The effect of exposure to literature on the need for closure. Creativity Research Journal, 25(2), 149-154. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10400419.2013.783735
  • Djikic, M., Oatley, K., & Moldoveanu, M.C. (2013b). Reading other minds: Effects of literature on empathy. Scientific Study of Literature, 3(1), 28-47. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.3.1.06dji
  • Djikic, M., Oatley, K., & Carland, M. (2012). Genre or artistic merit? The effect of literature on personality. Scientific Study of Literature, 2(1), 2-36. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.2.1.02dji
  • Djikic, M., Oatley, K., Zoeterman, S., & Peterson, J. B. (2009a). On ‘Being Moved’ by Art: How reading fiction transforms the self. Creativity Research Journal, 21(1), 24-29. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10400410802633392
  • Djikic, M., Oatley, K., Zoeterman, S., & Peterson, J. B. (2009b). Defenseless against art: Impact of reading fiction on emotion change in avoidantly attached individuals. Journal of Research in Personality 43, 14-17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2008.09.003
  • Schrijvers, M., Janssen, T., Fialho, O. & Rijlaarsdam, G. (2018). Gaining Insight Into Human Nature: A Review of Literature Classroom Intervention Studies. Review of Educational Research, 20(10), 1-43. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654318812914
  • Schrijvers, M., Janssen, T., Fialho, O. & Rijlaarsdam, G. (2016). The Impact of Literature Education on Students’ Perceptions of Self and Others: Exploring Personal and Social Learning Experiences in Relation to Teacher Approach. L1 Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 16, 1-37. special issue on The Role of Writing in Literature Education, edited by Tanja Janssen and Irene Pieper. https://doi.org/10.17239/L1ESLL- 2016.16.04.01
  • Burke, M., Fialho, O., Zyngier, S. (Eds.) (2016). Scientific Approaches to Literature in Learning Environments. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Fialho, O. (2012) Self-Modifying Experiences in Literary Reading: A Model for Reader Response. PhD dissertation, University of Alberta
  • Fialho, O., Miall, D.S., & Zyngier, S. (2012). Experiencing or Interpreting Literature: Wording Instructions. In M. Burke, S. Csábi, L. Week, & J. Zerkowitz (Eds.), Pedagogical Stylistics: Current Trends in Language, Literature and ELT (pp. 58-74). London: Continuum.
  • Fialho, O., Zyngier, S., & Miall, D. S. (2011). Interpretation and experience: Two pedagogical interventions observed. English in Education, 45(3), 236-53
  • Tangerås, T. M. (2019). Intimate Reading. In J. Billington (Ed.), Reading and Health, Palgrave.
  • Tangerås, T. M. (2018). “How Literature Changed My Life”: A Hermeneutically Oriented Narrative Inquiry into Transformative Experiences of Reading Imaginative Literature. PhD Dissertation, OsloMet University.
  • Tangerås, T. M. (2017). «Tor Ulvens dikt i lys av Longinos: En kvalitativ undersøkelse av den sublime leseopplevelsen.» In: Rhetorica Scandinavica, 73, 2016, pp 31—51.
  • Davis, P., Magee, F., Koleva, K., Tangerås, T. M., Hill, E., Baker, H. (2016). ‘What Literature Can Do’: An investigation into the effectiveness of shared reading as a whole population health intervention.’ Guys and St Thomas Charity. https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/media/livacuk/instituteofpsychology/researchgroups/CRILSWhatLiteratureCanDo.pdf
  • Tangerås, T. M. (2015). Litteraturens terapeutiske potensial. In Litteratur- og kulturformidling: Nye analyser og perspektiver. Red: Tonje Vold og Helge Ridderstrøm. Oslo: Pax forlag.
  • Miall, D. S. (2008). Feeling from the perspective of the empirical study of literature. Journal of Literary Theory 1(2): 377-393. https://doi.org/10.1515/JLT.2007.023
  • Miall, D. S. (2008). ‘Too soon transplanted’: Coleridge and the forms of dislocation. In W. van Peer, Ed., The Quality of Literature: Linguistic Studies in Literary Evaluation (pp. 95-116). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  • Miall, D. S. (2011) Enacting the other: Towards an aesthetics of feeling in literary reading. In E. Schellekens & P. Goldie (Eds.), The Aesthetic Mind: Philosophy and Psychology (pp. 285-298). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Miall, D. S. (2011). Science in the perspective of literariness. Scientific Studies of Literature, 1(1), 7-14. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.00007.mia
  • Miall, D. S. (2012). How does it feel? Attending to the unreliable narrator. Fictions, 11(11), 41-57.
  • Miall, D. S. (2017). Annihilation of self’: The cognitive challenge of the sublime. Cognitive Literary Science: Dialogues between Literature and Cognition (pp. 55-72). Oxford University Press.
  • Miall, D. S. (2018). Towards an empirical model of literariness. Scientific Study of Literature, 8(1), 21-46. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.00007.mia
  • Kuiken, D., & Douglas, S. (2018). Living metaphor as the site of bidirectional literary engagement. Scientific Study of Literature, 8(1), 47–76. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.18004.kui
  • Kuiken, D., & Douglas, S. (2017). Forms of absorption that facilitate the aesthetic and explanatory effects of literary reading. In F. Hakemulder, M. Kuijpers, E. Tan, M. Doicaru, K. Balin, (Eds.) Narrative Absorption (pp. 217-249). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.
  • Kuiken, D., & Douglas, S. (2017). Identifying aspects of absorption that facilitate aesthetic response (pp. 217-249). In F. Hakemulder, M. Kuijpers, E. Tan, M. Doicaru, K. Bálint, (Eds.) Narrative Absorption. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.
  • Sikora, S., Kuiken, D., & Miall, D. S. (2011). Expressive reading: A phenomenological study of readers’ experience of Coleridge’s ‘The rime of the ancient mariner.’ Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 5(3), 258–268. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021999
  • Kuiken, D. (2008). A theory of expressive reading. In S. Zyngier, M. Bortolussi, A. Chesnokova, & J. Auracher (Eds.), Directions in Empirical Literary Studies: Essays in Honor of Willie van Peer (pp. 49–68). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  • Kuiken, D., Miall, D. S., & Sikora, S. (2004). Forms of self-implication in literary reading. Poetics Today, 25(2), 171–203. https://doi.org/doi:10.1215/03335372-25-2-171
  • Kuiken, D., Phillips, L., Gregus, M., Miall, D. S., Verbitsky, M., & Tonkonogy, A. (2004). Locating self-modifying feelings within literary reading. Discourse Processes, 38(2), 267–286. https://doi.org/DOI:10.1207/s15326950dp3802_6

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Poetry Writing Research

Abstract

Over the last decade, the usage of poetry writing has been integrated within research contexts. Poetry writing has been used as a source of data, as a data collection method and as a way of presenting interview data. The integration of poetry as a research method has happened predominantly with the aim of enhancing social understanding and in relation to the ethnographic investigation of individual personal experience and trauma. The field of the scientific study of literature has over the last 25 years generated data and theories which allow a deeper understanding of the way poetry is written and read. However, to date, there is little direct evidence of the way poetic (auto) ethnographies on the psychological processes and outcomes of writing and reading poetic research writing of this type. The aim of the present coalition is to generate new poetic (auto) ethnographic studies and to explicitly study the ramifications of the reading and writing of this type of research poem. The research team is situated in three different countries (Japan, Taiwan and the US) and includes researchers with experience of the range of forms of poetic (auto) ethnographic research. The research coalition wishes to leverage two different aspects of its constituent members: the access to educational settings and our international presence. As a basic design the coalition will generate ethnographic poetic data within our particular contexts and then explore using established research methodologies cross-cultural understandings of poetically expressed experiences. Outcomes of the coalitions work will contribute to the understanding of ways in which poetry is read, written and interacts with critical social change in different cultural contexts.

Members

member

David I. Hanauer

Professor of Applied Linguistics/English, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA.

Dr. Hanauer has taught at Tel-Aviv University, Purdue University, University of California at Berkley and is currently Professor of Applied Linguistics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the Lead Educational Researcher and Assessment Coordinator of the SEA-PHAGES Program, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute funded project in the Hatful Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Hanauer is the editor of the Scientific Study of Literature journal and the author of 7 books. He has published in a wide range of science, applied linguistics, literacy and educational journals and is the recipient of grants from the NSF, NIH and US Department of Education. His research addresses the empirical and educational aspects of reading and writing poetry. Hanauer’s poetry research can be divided into three areas; 1) research on the genre-specific aspects of poetry reading; 2) research into how poetry is written in a first and second language; & 3) the development of methodologies for using poetry writing as a research method (poetic autoethnography and poetic ethnography). Using primarily psycholinguistic methodologies Hanauer has explored questions of the distinctiveness of reading and writing poetry, beauty judgements in poetry, voice in poetry, the assessment of poetry reading and writing and the educational outcomes of using poetry in educational settings with varied populations.

member

Gloria Park

Professor of Applied Linguistics/English, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA.

Dr. Gloria Park is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park’s College of Education, and is currently Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Composition and Applied linguistics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Park has served as associate editor for TESOL Journal for 5 years and has recently edited TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching: Teacher Training & Professional Development Volume (2018). Her editorial experience also included publishing two special issues in TESOL Journal and TESOL Quarterly, 2014 and 2016, respectively. Her first monograph entitled, Narratives of East Asian women teachers of English: Where Privilege Meets Marginalization, was published by Multilingual Matters in 2017 (paperback released in 2018). In addition, Dr. Park’s work has appeared in TESOL Quarterly, Journal of Language, Identity and Education, TESOL Journal, ELT Journal, Race and Education, System, Teacher Development, and numerous edited collections. Her research focuses on the lives and experiences of language teachers, whose identities are complicated and contradictory as they move in and out of different linguistic and cultural landscapes. Chronicling the fluid and ever-changing nature of identity narratives is at the core of Dr. Park’s empirical work. Coupled with language teacher identity and teacher education work, Dr. Park focuses on the (auto) ethnographic narratives of gendered lives, especially in the areas of mothering, language teacher identity, and Korean as heritage language learner identity.

member

Justin Nicholes

Assistant Professor of English, University of Wisconsin-Stout, USA.

Dr. Nicholes is Copy Editor of Scientific Study of Literature and, in addition to holding a PhD in Composition and Applied Linguistics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (fiction) from Wichita State University. His teaching and research center on (creative and disciplinary) writing’s role in constructing academic identities, enhancing learning, and supporting college-student persistence. Specifically, his ongoing empirical studies explore the relationship that creative writing has with science majors’ perceptions and ownership of both creative and science writing, as well as the association of academic life story writing and college students’ institutional commitment.

member

Atsushi Iida

Associate Professor of English, Gunma University, Japan.

Atsushi was awarded his Ph.D. in English (Composition and TESOL) at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include second language writing, poetry writing, literature in second language education, and writing for academic publication. He has published his work in various journals including Assessing Writing, System, Qualitative Inquiry, Scientific Study of Literature, English Teaching Forum, and Asian EFL Journal. As a teacher-researcher of second language (L2) writing, Iida has conducted poetic inquiries from empirical and pedagogical viewpoints. Iida’s research is mainly divided into four areas: features of L2 poetry writing, voice and identity in L2 poetry writing, cross-genre literacy development, and L2 learners’ perceptions and attitudes toward creative writing. He has explored not only the value of poetry writing in educational contexts but also the potential of using poetry produced by L2 writers as qualitative data.

member

Fang-Yu Liao

Assistant Professor of Foreign Language Center, Feng Chia University, Taiwan.

Dr. Liao has a Ph.D in Composition and Applied Linguistics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In late October 2017, she defended her dissertation, Translingual Creative Writing Pedagogy: University Teachers’ Transformation on Pedagogical Ideas, with distinction. Her research centers on teaching poetic autoethnography as translingual pedagogy in first/second/foreign language classrooms. Her poetry writing research addresses three aspects: (1) L1/L2 students’ understanding toward their poetry writing experiences, (2) literacy teachers’ perception toward teaching poetry writing, and (3) the efficacy of teaching poetic autoethnography in educational settings. Her most recent publications explore the use of poetic autoethnography as translingual pedagogy in first-year college composition courses and the ways prospective literacy teachers perceive writing poetry in a second language. Two of her poetry research are under review for publication: (1) a poetic autoethnographic study on the impact of writing poetry in a second language and (2) a curriculum development study on teaching poetry writing in first-year composition courses for translingual orientation.

Publications

  • Hanauer, D. I. (2018). Intermediate states of literariness: Poetic lining, sociological positioning, and the activation of literariness. Scientific Study of Literature, 8(1): 114-134. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.18001.han
  • Nicholes, J. (2018). Developing STEM interest and genre knowledge through science fiction prototyping. The STEAM Journal, 3(2), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.5642/steam.20180302.14
  • Iida, A. (2018). Living in darkness at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake: A poetic-narrative autoethnography. Qualitative Inquiry, 24(4), 270-280. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800417745917
  • Liao, F. (2018). Translingual pedagogy through poetry writing: A case of college composition courses (Special Issue on Transnationalism). Journal of Global Literacies, Technologies, and Emerging Pedagogy, 4(3), 741-765.
  • Liao, F. (2018). Prospective ESL/EFL teachers’ perceptions towards writing poetry in a second language: Difficulty, value, emotion, and attitude. Eurasian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(1), 1-16. https://doi.org/10.32601/ejal.460583
  • Park, G. (2017). Narratives of East Asian women teachers of English: Where privilege meets marginalization. Cambridge, UK: Multilingual Matters, LTD. https://doi.org/10.21832/9781783098736
  • Nicholes, J. (2017a). Exploring imagined disciplinary identity in future-scenario autobiographical L2 writing. The Journal of Literature in Language Teaching, 6(2), 5-17.
  • Nicholes, J. (2017b). Measuring ownership of creative versus academic writing: Implications for interdisciplinary praxis. Writing in Practice: The Journal of Creative Writing Research, 3.
  • Iida, A. (2017). Expressing study abroad experiences in second language haiku writing: Theoretical and practical implications for teaching haiku composition in Asian EFL classrooms. In H. J. Widodo, A. S. Wood, & D. Gupta (Eds.), Asian English language classrooms: Where theory and practice meet (pp. 180-191). New York: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315755243-12
  • Liao, F. (2017). The relationship between L2 students’ writing experiences and their perceived poetry writing ability. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 7(4), 621-649. https://doi.org/10.14746/ssllt.2017.7.4.4
  • Liao, F., & Roy, S. (2017). EFL students’ perceptions of writing poetry in English: The effect of educational backgrounds and belief towards poetry. The Journal of Literature in Language Teaching, 6(1), 55-72.
  • Masbuhin, R., & Liao, F. (2017). English teachers’ desire to teach poetry: The impact of educational backgrounds, belief towards poetry, and level of confidence. The Journal of Literature in Language Teaching, 6(1), 21-36.
  • Hanauer, D. I. (2016). Beauty judgements of non-professional poetry: Regression analyses of authorial attribution, emotional response and perceived writing quality. Scientific Study of Literature, 5(2): 183-199. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.5.2.04han
  • Varghese, M., Motha, S., Park, G., Reeves, J., & Trent, J. (2016). Language teacher identity in (multi)lingual educational contexts. Special Themed Issue for TESOL Quarterly.
  • Park, G., Rinke, C., & Mawhinney, L. (2016). Exploring the interplay of cultural capital, habitus, and field in the life histories of two West African teacher candidates. Teacher Development: An International Journal of Teachers’ Professional Development, 20(5). http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13664530.2016.1202312
  • Nicholes, J. (2016). Measuring writing engagement and emotional tone in L2 creative writing: Implications for interdisciplinarity. Journal of Creative Writing Studies, 2(1), 1-21.
  • Iida, A. (2016). Poetic identity in second language writing: Exploring an EFL learner’s study abroad experience. Eurasian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 2(1), 1-14. https://doi.org/10.32601/ejal.460985
  • Iida, A. (2016). Exploring earthquake experiences: A study of second language learners’ ability to express and communicate deeply traumatic events in poetic form. System, 57, 120-133. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2016.02.004
  • Hanauer, I. D., & Liao, F. (2016). ESL students’ perceptions of creative and academic writing. In M. Burke, O. Fialho, & S. Zyngier (Eds.), Scientific Approaches to Literature in Learning Environments (pp. 213-226). John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1075/lal.24.11han
  • Liao, F. (2016). Identities in an ESL poetry book: A case study of one Chinese student. The Journal of Literature in Language Teaching, 5(1) 45-61.
  • Hanauer, D. I. (2015). Measuring voice in poetry written by second language learners. Written Communication, 32 (1): 66-86. https://doi.org/10.1177/0741088314563023
  • Nicholes, J. (2015). Short story analysis and writing in English Composition in China. The Journal of Literature in Language Teaching, 4(1), 8-20.
  • Park, G. (2013a). My autobiographical poetic rendition: An inquiry into humanizing our teacher-scholarship. L2 Journal Special Themed Issue: L2 Writing and Personal History, 5(1), 6-18. http://escholarship.org/uc/item/2wx585r5
  • Park, G. (2013). “Writing IS a way of knowing”: Writing and identity. ELT Journal, 67(3), 336-345. https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/cct012
  • Park, G. (2012). “I am never afraid of being recognized as an NNES”: One woman teacher’s journey in claiming and embracing the NNES identity. TESOL Quarterly, 46(1), 127-151. https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.4
  • Iida, A. (2012). The value of poetry writing: Cross-genre literacy development in a second language. Scientific Study of Literature, 2, 60-82. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/ssol.2.1.04iid.
  • Park, G. (2011). Adult English language learners constructing and sharing their stories and experiences: The cultural and linguistic autobiography (CLA) writing project. TESOL Journal, 2(2), 156-172. https://doi.org/10.5054/tj.2011.250378
  • Hanauer, D. (2010). Poetry as Research: Exploring Second Language Poetry Writing. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1075/lal.9
  • Iida, A. (2008). Poetry writing as expressive pedagogy in an EFL context: Identifying possible assessment tools for haiku poetry in EFL freshman college writing. Assessing Writing 13, 171-179. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.asw.2008.10.001
  • Hanauer, D. (2001) The task of poetry reading and second language learning. Applied Linguistics 22(3), 295-323. https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/22.3.295
  • Hanauer, D. (1998). The genre-specific hypothesis of reading: Reading poetry and reading encyclopedic items. Poetics, 26(2), 63-80. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0304-422X(98)00011-4

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Reading Outcomes (Social Cognition)

Narrative Fiction and Social Cognition

Abstract

Fiction—in print, film, and even video games—exposes its consumers not only to storyworlds, but also to characters, their relationships, and a wealth of complex social interactions. A growing body of research suggests that fiction consumers may learn social skills from stories through various mechanisms, such as identifying with and/or forming parasocial relationships with characters and simulation of social experience via engagement with characters and the story itself. In this chapter, we will begin by reviewing the principle theories that explain possible mechanisms and potential effects of engaging with fiction. We will then describe the methods used to investigate the effects of fiction, and present a brief overview of both correlational and experimental findings: there is robust evidence of an association between lifetime exposure to fiction and social cognition, but results from experimental studies have been mixed. Finally, we will identify the most important gaps in the current research and propose directions for future research. Despite recent efforts to test the effects of manipulating fiction exposure on a limited range of social cognitive abilities, many aspects of social cognition have yet to be explored, and there is a clear need for longitudinal intervention studies.

Members

member

Raymond A. Mar

Dept. of Psychology, York University, Toronto, Canada.

Professor Mar earned his PhD at the University of Toronto before being hired at York University. His research interests include how imagined experience in narrative media (e.g., novels, movies, TV shows, video-games) influences real-world cognition and behavior. Raymond has published several papers about how stories promote social cognition, including a quantitative meta-anlalysis of neuroimaging studies, brief reviews, and theoretical papers. Website

member

Jan Lenhart

Department of Psychology, Universität Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany.

Dr. Jan Lenhart received his PhD at the University of Würzburg. In 2021, he took up a position as an assistant professor of educational psychology at the University of Bamberg. His research interests include language development, socio-cognitive development, and the effects of narratives on language skills and social cognition. Jan has authored several papers about how stories influence language skills and social cognition in children and adolescents. Websit

member

Diana Tamir

Princeton Social Neuroscience Lab, Princeton University, Princeton, USA.

Professor Tamir completed her undergraduate degree in cognitive neuroscience at Brown University and went on to pursue psychology at the graduate and postgraduate levels at UC Davis, Harvard University, and Stanford University. Her lab, the Princeton Social Neuroscience Lab, conducts research that encompasses both cognitive neuroscience and social psychology. Her research interests include mentalizing, fiction-reading and theory of mind, self-disclosure, and the psychology of social media. Diana has studied the neural networks that are recruited during the social processing that accompanies the reading of literary fiction. Wwebsite

member

Michael Kevane

Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, USA.

Dr. Kevane received his PhD at the University of California at Berkeley and was an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. He is the founder and director of Friends of African Village Libraries which established and supports 35 community libraries in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Uganda. Current research interests include estimating the impact of reading and libraries, improving community library performance, gender issues in agrarian economies of Africa, and economic development in Burkina Faso.

member

Tobias Richter

Department of Psychology IV, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.

Dr. Richter’s background in psychology and philosophy culminated in a PhD on text comprehension (University of Cologne, 2003). After a position as professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Kassel (2016), Dr. Richter has been at the University of Würzburg, where he investigates such topics as “language and text comprehension, reading and listening skills, and other cognitive aspects of learning.” He has spearheaded various research initiatives on the above topics, including a recent one on “the role of emotional shifts and event-congruent emotions in narrative persuasion.” Website

member

Micah Mumper

Mr. Mumper earned his BA in psychology at Macalester College and his Master’s degree in cognitive psychology at Stony Brook University. His research interests include experiences of written and spoken language, and discourse processing. Mr. Mumper has also authored papers on the experience of narrative as mediated by reader memory.

member

Keith Oatley

Professor Emeritus of cognitive psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

Professor Oatley earned his PhD at University College London and held professorships at the University of Sussex and University of Glasgow before moving to the University of Toronto. His research interests include the psychology of fiction and emotion. Keith has published several influential papers on the relationship between fiction and truth and how stories influence emotions and social abilities. Website

Publications

  • Rain, M. & Mar. R. A. (in press). Adult attachment and engagement with fictional characters. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
  • Mumper, M. L., & Gerrig, R. J. (2021). The Representation of Emotion Inferences. Discourse Processes, 1-22.
  • Lenhart, J., Dangel, S. & Richter, T. (2021). The relationship between lifetime book reading and empathy in adolescents: Examining transportability as a moderator. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. https://doi.org/10.1037/aca0000341
  • Appel, M., Schreiner, C., Haffmans, M.-B., & Richter, T. (2021). The mediating role of event-congruent emotions in narrative persuasion. Poetics. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2019.101385
  • Oatley, K. (2021). How social simulation makes characters real. In K. Shackleford (Ed.), Real Characters: The psychology of parasocial relationships with media characters (pp. 45-66). Santa Barbara, CA: Fielding University Press.
  • Oatley, K. (2021). Imaginative creativity in the writing and reading of stories. In Sandra W. Russ, Jessica D. Hoffman & James C. Kaufman (Eds) The Cambridge Handbook of Lifetime Development of Creativity (pp. 351-367). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Oatley, K. (2021). Only project: A psychological principle explored in a novel. In Peter Vorderer & Christoff Klimmt (Eds), pp. 305-320. The Oxford Handbook of Entertainment Theory. Oxford University Press.
  • Oatley, K. & Jenkins, J. M. (2021). Art as expression of emotion explored in Anna Karenina. Interdisciplinary Literary Studies, 23, 190-203.
  • Kevane, Michael. (2020). Reading Fiction and Economic Preferences of Rural Youth in Burkina Faso. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 68(3), 1041-107.
  • Lenhart, J., Dangel, J., & Richter, T. (2020). The relationship between lifetime book reading and empathy in adolescents: Examining transportability as a moderator. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/aca0000341
  • Seitz, M., Lenhart, J., & Rübsam, N. (2020). The effects of gendered information in stories on preschool children’s development of gender stereotypes. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 38, 363-390. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjdp.12323
  • Mar, R. A. (2018). Evaluating Whether Stories can Promote Social Cognition: Introducing the Social Processes and Content Entrained by Narrative (SPaCEN) Framework. Discourse Processes, 5/6, 454–479.
  • Mar, R. A. (2018). Stories and the promotion of social cognition. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27, 257–262.
  • Dodell-Feder, D. & Tamir, D.I. (2018). Fiction reading has a small positive impact on social cognition: A meta-analysis. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 147(11), 1713–1727.
  • Isberner, M.-B., Richter, T., Schreiner, C., EIsenbach, Y., Sommer, C. & Appel, M. (2018). Empowering stories: Transportation into narratives with strong protagonists increases self-related control beliefs. Discourse Processes, 56, 575-598. https://doi.org/10.1080/0163853X.2018.1526032

Resources

Author (Genre) Familiarity Scales
  • Author Recognition Test (Genres) (ART–G) (Mar & Rain, 2015). The ART–G is a measure of print-exposure derived from a measure of lifetime exposure to print that was developed by Stanovich and West (1989). It consists of a list of author names, and respondents are asked to indicate which names they recognize as belonging to authors. Guessing and indiscriminate responding are discouraged by the presence of false names (foils). This instrument is appropriate for measuring the level of exposure to fiction and nonfiction texts, including several sub-genres.
Theory of Mind (Empathy) Measures
  • Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (Revised) (RMET-R) (Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, & Hill, 2001). The RMET–R provides a measure of adult mentalizing ability, i.e., the ability to infer what other people are thinking and feeling. Originally developed by Baron-Cohen, Jolliffe, Mortimore, and Robertson (1997), and closely related to studies of theory-of-mind in children, this measure of mentalizing is appropriate for normally-developing adults. Respondents are asked to identify the mental state a person is experiencing based on a photograph of their eye-region alone, choosing from among four possible responses.

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Absorption (e.g., Transportation) and Attitude Change

Abstract

Literature has often been analyzed as an artistic product, but it can also affect how individuals view the real world and themselves. Literature can affect the self, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors by providing new perspectives and experiences for readers. There are several ways in which this change can occur. For example, literary texts may create empathy for characters that may extend to actual groups or social issues. They may also evoke vivid mental imagery or facilitate a form of experiential reading that leads to a global shift in moral understanding. The effects may be short-term or relatively enduring. This chapter will consider how and when “literature enters life,” as well as future directions for this area of research.

Members

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Melanie C. Green

Professor, Department of Communication, University at Buffalo, USA.

Dr. Green’s research examines how narratives can change the way individuals think and behave, including the effects of fictional stories on real-world attitudes. Her theory of “transportation into a narrative world” focuses on immersion into a story as a mechanism of narrative influence. She has examined narrative persuasion in a variety of contexts, from health communication to social issues. She has edited two books on these topics (Narrative Impact and Persuasion: Psychological Insights and Perspectives, Second Edition), and published numerous articles in psychology, communication, and interdisciplinary journals.

member

Dan R. Johnson

Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Washington and Lee University, USA.

Dr. Johnson’s research investigates the role of reading narrative fiction in the development of empathy, theory of mind, and attitude change. Dr. Johnson also investigates how indicators of genre (e.g., science fiction) influence readers’ expectations and the degree to which they engage inferential processes. In other work, Dr. Johnson studies how computational models of cognition (e.g., latent semantic analysis) can be applied to assess and enhance creativity.

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Paul Sopčák

Academic Integrity Coordinator and Lecturer, English Department, MacEwan University, Canada.

Dr. Sopčák’s interests include early modernist literature, the empirical study of literature, phenomenology, and existential philosophy. He is assistant editor for the journal Scientific Study of Literature (SSOL) and Secretary of the International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature (IGEL). His current research looks at the relationship between literary reading, empathy, and prejudice. His research related to attitude change focuses on differentiating shifts in understanding that are facilitated by inference-driven reading from those that are facilitated by an experiential - and distinctively aesthetic - form of reading that involves a self-implicating and enactive type of empathy. It has focused on two general areas: the experience of one’s mortality and moral attitude change.

Publications

  • Gavaler, C., & Johnson, D. R. (2017). The genre effect: A science fiction (vs. realism) manipulation decreases inference effort, reading comprehension, and perception of literary merit. Scientific Study of Literature, 7, 79-108.
  • Appel, M., Gnambs, R., Richter, T., & Green, M.C. (2015). The Transportation Scale - Short Form (TS-SF). Media Psychology, 18(2), 243-266.
  • Johnson, D. R., Huffman, B., & Jasper, D. (2014). Changing race boundary perception by reading narrative fiction. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 36, 83-90.
  • Green, M.C., & *Clark, J.M. (2013). Transportation into narrative worlds: Implications for entertainment media influences on tobacco use. Addiction, 108(3), 477-484.
  • Johnson, D. R., Jasper, D. M., Griffin, S., & Huffman, B. (2013). Reading narrative fiction reduces Arab-Muslim prejudice and offers a safe haven from intergroup anxiety. Social Cognition, 31, 578-598.
  • Johnson, D. R., Cushman, G., Borden, L., & McCune, M. (2013). Potentiating empathic growth: Generating imagery while reading fiction increases empathy and prosocial behavior. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 7, 306-312.
  • Johnson, D. R. (2013). Transportation into literary fiction reduces prejudice against and increases empathy for Arab-Muslims. Scientific Study of Literature, 3, 77-92.
  • Sopcak, P. (2013). “He made her feel the beauty:” Readers’ responses to Maurice Blanchot and Virginia Woolf’s treatments of finitude. Scientific Study of Literature, 3(2), 209–239. doi: 10.1075/ssol.3.2.04sop
  • Johnson, D. R. (2012). Transportation into a story increases empathy, prosocial behavior, and perceptual bias toward fearful expressions. Personality and Individual Differences, 52, 150-155.
  • Kuiken, D., Campbell, P., and Sopcak, P. (2012). The Experiencing Questionnaire: Locating exceptional reading moments. Scientific Study of Literature, 2(2), 243–272. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.2.2.04kui
  • Sopcak, P. & Kuiken, D. (2012). Reader’s engagements with Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway: From knowing about death to the experience of finitude. Mémoires du Livre/Studies in Book Culture, 3(2). doi: 10.7202/1009348ar.
  • Sopcak, P. (2011). A numerically aided phenomenological study of existential reading. In F. Hakemulder (Ed.), De Stralende Lezer: Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Naar De Invloed Van Het Lezen (pp. 123- 152). Den Haag: Stichting Lezen.
  • Mazzocco, P.M., Green, M.C., Sasota, J.A, & Jones, N.W. (2010). This story is not for everyone: Transportability and narrative persuasion. Social Psychology and Personality Science, 1(4), 361-368.
  • Sestir, M., & Green, M.C. (2010). You are who you watch: Identification and transportation effects on temporary self-concept. Social Influence, 5(4), 272-288.
  • Green, M.C., Strange, J.J., & Brock, T.C. (Eds.) (2002). Narrative Impact: Social and Cognitive Foundations. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Green, M.C., & Brock, T.C. (2000). The role of transportation in the persuasiveness of public narratives. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79(5), 701-721.

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Character Engagement (e.g., Identification) and Social Cognition

Abstract

Identification constitutes one of the most profound narrative experiences. Although related to immersion and transportation, identification constitutes a unique psychological process. Rather than being engrossed in the narrative-world as a witness, identification entails temporary suspending one’s own self-concept and merging with the character, thus vicariously experiencing the narrative world through that character. Identification has been theorized as a multi-dimensional experiencing, encompassing cognitive (adopting the character’s thought process), emotional (sharing the character’s emotions), and motivational (rooting for the character’s success) facets. Research across disciplines (spanning literature, psychology, and communication) empirically investigates the antecedents and consequences of character identification using both written and audiovisual narratives.

Collectively, this research draws a complex portrait of this phenomenon. Contrary to the intuitively appealing notion that character-audience similarity lies at the core of character identification, a growing body of research demonstrates that powerful narratives compel audiences to adopt the perspective of characters that may be very different from themselves. Literary devices eliciting identification include first-person storytelling, character likability, and a rich depiction of the character’s inner world.In turn, character identification can alter one’s self-concept and attenuate the audience member’s interpretation of, and enjoyment of, the narrative. Moreover, character identification leads to persuasion and learning effects. These outcomes have been documented in a variety of contexts, including health, inter-group relationships, and support for social policies.

From a methodological perspective, post-reading self-report measures dominate the field. The validity of this approach, however, comes under increased scrutiny. Recent interdisciplinary research in this area introduced alternatives to assessing identification (e.g., physiological and reaction-task measures). These methodological advances could, ostensibly, reduce self-report biases and/or provide a continuous, online measure of identification. Ultimately, this shift reflects a growing interest in conceptualizing character identification and theorizing its effect as a dynamic process.

Members

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Jonathan Cohen

Professor of Communication, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.

Jonathan Cohen’s research focuses on media psychology with a special interest in the relationships that audiences create with media characters. His work on identification with characters started with a focus on explaining enjoyment from entertainment and has led to an interest in the role of identification in persuasion. His research, funded primarily by the Israel Science Foundations, focuses on the notion of identification as the merging of identities between audience and character. He is interested in both the psychological processes leading to identification and the impact of identification on persuasion and media effects in general.

member

Rebecca (Riva) Tukachinsky Forster

Associate Professor, Chapman University, Orange, USA.

Upon completing her M.A. at Haifa University (Israel), Riva earned her Ph.D. at the University of Arizona. Her research explores the antecedents and consequences of identification with characters, transportation, and other forms of narrative involvement. She is also interested in advancing understanding of the interrelationship between these different forms of engagement.

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Juan José Igartua Perosanz

Full Professor of Media Psychology, University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain.

Juan-José Igartua’s research focuses on the analysis of media effects and, in particular, entertainment media theory, narrative persuasion, and health communication. He directs the Observatorio de los Contenidos Audiovisuales (OCA, Observatory for Audiovisual Contents), a recognised research group in the University of Salamanca. The main goal at OCA is the empirical study of the impact of media messages on individuals, with a special focus on the analysis of the explanatory mechanisms of narrative persuasion.

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Frank Hakemulder

Assistant Professor, Department of Media and Culture Studies, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Also an affiliated Full Professor at the Reading Center of Stavanger University, Norway, Frank Hakemulder has a background in literary theory and comparative literature. His research focuses on the effects of reading literary texts on outgroup attitudes and moral self-concept (e.g., The moral laboratory, 2000). He supervises two national research projects in the Netherlands: one pertaining to the experience of being absorbed in fictional worlds (Narrative Absorption, 2017), and the other on how such experiences affect social perception and self concepts (see www.finditinfiction.org). Currently he is investigating how literary reading gives readers a sense of meaningfulness in studies of text qualities (e.g., foregrounding), how readers are instructed to read, reading medium (screen versus paper), and how these interact to generate deeply absorbed, eudaemonic experiences.

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Benjamin K. Johnson

Assistant Professor of Advertising, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA.

Benjamin Johnson’s research is focused on the selection and use of media, especially as it relates to impression management, social comparison, and self-regulation processes. His work on narrative absorption and empathy is focused on the temporarily expanded boundary of the self (TEBOTS) model, which proposes that narratives allow individuals to transcend their limitations of their daily selves to satisfy vicariously their intrinsic needs for self-determination. He has applied the TEBOTS predictions in contexts of self-regulation, self-affirmation, antihero morality, narrative persuasion, targeted advertising, and interactive fandom. His work on narrative and media also considers additional message and social factors such as spoilers, group identity, and social comparison.

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Nurit Tal-Or

Associate Professor, Department of Communication, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.

Nurit Tal-Or’s research focuses on media psychology and interpersonal communication. Funded by The Israel Science Foundation and The Israeli Association for Research Funds and Education, her research focuses on the effect of co-viewing on viewers’ identification with media characters and transportation into a narrative. She also studies the effect of transportation into a narrative text, which includes conflicting messages as well as the effect of the physical environment on identification and transportation.

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Helena Bilandzic

Full Professor, University of Augsburg, Augsburg, Germany.

Helena Bilandzic earned her PhD from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (Munich) and her habilitation degree from the University of Erfurt. She has taught at universities in Munich, Erfurt, Ilmenau, Berlin, Hamburg and Friedrichshafen. Her current research includes media effects related to social and moral issues, the environment and health, narrative experience and persuasion, and cultivation. She investigates the nature and dimensions of narrative engagement and the mechanisms of narrative persuasion. Together with Rick Busselle, she has developed a model of narrative comprehension and engagement as well as a multidimensional scale. She is interested in the effects of narratives and narrative engagement on perceptions of social reality as well as moral thinking and reasoning.

Publications

  • De Mulder, H., Hakemulder, F., Klaassen, F. Junge, C., Hoijtink, H. & Van Berkum, J. (in press). Figuring out what they feel: Exposure to eudaimonic narrative fiction is related to mentalising ability. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.
  • Tal-Or, N., & Razpurker‐Apfeld, I. (in press). Embodied Cognition and Media Engagement: When the Loneliness of the Protagonist Makes the Reader Sense Coldness (and Vice Versa). Human Communication Research.
  • Johnson, B. K., Slater, M. D., Silver, N. A., & Ewoldsen, D. R. (2021). Stories enlarge the experience of self: Evidence for the temporarily expanded boundaries of the self (TEBOTS) model. In P. Vorderer & C. Klimmt (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of entertainment theory (pp. 251-265). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190072216.013.14
  • Johnson, B. K., Udvardi, A., Eden, A., & Rosenbaum, J. E. (2020). Spoilers go bump in the night: Impacts of minor and major reveals on horror film enjoyment. Journal of Media Psychology, 32(1), 14-25. https://doi.org/10.1027/1864-1105/a000252
  • Igartua, J. J., & Rodríguez-Contreras, L. (2020). Narrative voice matters! Improving smoking prevention with testimonial messages through identification and cognitive processes. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(19), 7281. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197281
  • Kim, N., Kim, H. K., Wojcieszak, M., Igartua, J. J., & Lim, C. M. (2020). The presence of the protagonist: explaining narrative perspective effects through social presence. Media Psychology, 23(6), 891–914. https://doi.org/10.1080/15213269.2019.1665548
  • Oliver, M. B., Bilandzic, H., Cohen, J., Ferchaud, A., Shade, D. D., Bailey, E. J., & Yang, C. (2019). A penchant for the immoral: implications of parasocial interaction, perceived complicity, and identification on liking of anti-heroes. Human Communication Research, 45(2), 169-201. https://doi.org/10.1093/hcr/hqy019
  • Tal-Or, N. (2019) The effects of co-viewers on the viewing experience. Communication Theory. https://doi-org.ezproxy.haifa.ac.il/10.1093/ct/qtz012
  • Tal-Or, N. (2019). The Relationship between viewing environment, narrative environment, and involvement with narratives: The case of temperature. Human Communication Research, 45, 395-426. https://doi-org.ezproxy.haifa.ac.il/10.1093/hcr/hqz007
  • Igartua, J. J., Wojcieszak, M., & Kim, N. (2019). How the interplay of imagined contact and first-person narratives improves attitudes toward stigmatized immigrants. A conditional process model. European Journal of Social Psychology, 49(2), 385-397. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2509
  • Johnson, B. K., & Rosenbaum, J. E. (2018). (Don’t) tell me how it ends: Spoilers, enjoyment, and involvement in television and film. Media Psychology, 21(4), 582-612. https://doi.org/10.1080/15213269.2017.1338964
  • Bilandzic, H. & Busselle, R. (2017). Beyond metaphors and traditions: Exploring the boundaries of narrative engagement. In Frank Hakemulder, Moniek M. Kuijpers, Ed S. Tan, Katalin Balint and Miruna M. Doicaru. Narrative Absorption. John Benjamins. S. 11-27. https://doi.org/10.1075/lal.27.02bil
  • Schnell, C. & Bilandzic, H. (2017). Television stories and the cultivation of moral reasoning: The role of genre exposure and narrative engageability. Journal of Media Ethics, 32(4), 202-220. https://doi.org/10.1080/23736992.2017.1371022
  • Igartua, J. J., & Frutos, F. J. (2017). Enhancing attitudes toward stigmatized groups with movies: mediating and moderating processes of narrative persuasion. International Journal of Communication, 11, 158–177
  • Hakemulder, F., E. Tan, K. Balint, M. Kuijpers, M. Doicaru, (2017). Narrative Absorption. Benjamins Publishing, Amsterdam.
  • Kuijpers, M., Hakemulder, F. (2017). Understanding and appreciating literary texts through rereading. Discourse Processes. 1-23. https://doi.org/10.1080/0163853X.2017.1390352
  • Bálint, K., Hakemulder, F., Kuijpers, M., Doicaru, M., & Tan, E. S. (2017). Reconceptualizing foregrounding: Identifying response strategies to deviation in absorbing narratives. Scientific Study of Literature, 6(2): 176-207. https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.6.2.02bal
  • Woods, K., Slater, M. D., Cohen, J., Johnson, B. K., & Ewoldsen, D. R. (2018). The experience of narrative in the permanently online, permanently connected environment: Multitasking, self-expansion, and entertainment effects. In Vorderer, P., Hefner, D., Reinecke, L., & Klimmt, C. (Eds.). (2017). Permanently Online, Permanently Connected: Living and Communicating in a POPC World. (pp. 116-128). New York: Routledge.
  • Eden, A., Daalmans, S., & Johnson, B. K. (2017). Morality predicts enjoyment but not appreciation of morally ambiguous characters. Media Psychology, 20(3), 349-373. https://doi.org/10.1080/15213269.2016.1182030
  • Johnson, B. K. (2017). Seeking and avoiding of media: Intergroup approaches. In J. Nussbaum (Ed.), H. Giles, & J. Harwood (Eds.), Oxford research encyclopedia of communication: Intergroup communication. New York: Oxford encyclopedia of intergroup communication. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.452
  • Cohen, J., Weimann-Saks, D. & Mazor-Tregerman, M. (2017). Does character similarity increase identification and persuasion? Media Psychology, 1-23. https://doi.org/10.1080/15213269.2017.1302344
  • Johnson, B. K., Slater, M. D., Silver, N. A, & Ewoldsen, D. R. (2016). Entertainment and expanding boundaries of the self: Relief from the constraints of the everyday. Journal of Communication, 66(3), 386-408. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12228
  • Tal-Or, N., & Tsfati, Y. (2016). When Arabs and Jews watch TV together: The joint effect of the content and context of communication on reducing prejudice. Journal of Communication, 66(4), 646-668. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12242
  • Tal-Or, N., & Cohen, J. (2016). Unpacking engagement: Convergence and divergence in transportation and identification. Annals of the International Communication Association, 40(1), 33-66. https://doi.org/10.1080/23808985.2015.11735255
  • Igartua, J. J., & Vega, J. (2016). Identification with characters, elaboration, and counterarguing in entertainment-education interventions through audiovisual fiction. Journal of Health Communication, 21(3), 293-300. https://doi.org/10.1080/10810730.2015.1064494
  • Sukalla, F., Bilandzic, H., Bolls, P. D. & Busselle, R. W. (2015). Embodiment of narrative engagement. Connecting self-reported narrative engagement to psychophysiological measures. Journal of Media Psychology. 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1027/1864-1105/a000153
  • Johnson, B. K., Ewoldsen, D. R., & Slater, M. D. (2015). Self-control depletion and narrative: Testing a prediction of the TEBOTS model. Media Psychology, 18(2), 196-220. https://doi.org/10.1080/15213269.2014.978872
  • Cohen, J. Tal-Or, N. & Mazor-Tregerman, M. (2015). The tempering effect of transportation: Exploring the effects of transportation and identification during exposure to controversial two-sided narratives. Journal of Communication, 65(2), 237-258. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12144
  • Kuijpers, M. M., Hakemulder, F., Tan, E. S., & Doicaru, M. M. (2014). Exploring absorbing reading experiences: Developing and validating a self-report scale to measure story world absorption. Scientific Study of Literature, 4(1): 89-122.
  • Bilandzic, H., & Busselle, R. W. (2013). Narrative persuasion. In J. P. Dillard & L. Shen (Hrsg.), The Sage handbook of persuasion. Developments in theory and practice (S. 200-219). Los Angeles, London: Sage.
  • Igartua, J. J., & Barrios, I. M. (2012). Changing real-world beliefs with controversial movies. Processes and mechanisms of narrative persuasion. Journal of Communication, 62(3), 514-531. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.2012.01640.x
  • Bilandzic, H. & Busselle, R. (2011): Enjoyment of films as a function of narrative experience, perceived realism and transportability. Communications. The European Journal of Communication Research, 36, 29-50. https://doi.org/10.1515/comm.2011.002
  • Igartua, J. J. (2010). Identification with characters and narrative persuasion through fictional feature films. Communications. The European Journal of Communication Research, 35(4), 347-373. https://doi.org/10.1515/comm.2010.019
  • Tal-Or, N. & Cohen, J. (2010). Understanding audience involvement: Conceptualizing and manipulating identification and transportation. Poetics, 38(4), 402-418. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2010.05.004
  • Busselle, R. & Bilandzic, H. (2009). Measuring narrative engagement. Media Psychology, 12(4), 321-347. https://doi.org/10.1080/15213260903287259
  • Busselle R., &, Bilandzic, H. (2008). Fictionality and perceived realism in experiencing stories: A model of narrative comprehension and engagement. Communication Theory, 18(2), 255-280. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2885.2008.00322.x
  • Cohen, J. (2001). Defining identification: A theoretical look at the identification of audiences with media characters. Mass Communication & Society, 4(3), 245-264. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327825MCS0403_01

Resources

Character Identification Scales
  • Cohen Identification Scale (Revised) (Cohen, 2001). This scale measures audience member identification with a specific media character. It assesses identification with narrative characters (fictional or otherwise), such as figures in films, TV shows, or books. Identification involves sharing the perspective of the character, empathizing with the character’s emotions, and sharing the character’s motivations or goals.

  • Identification with the Character Scale (Igartua & Barrios (2012). This scale also measures the respondent’s identification with a specific character. The measurement model specifies that identification with characters is a general factor involving three facets: emotional empathy, cognitive empathy, and the sensation of becoming or merging with the character.

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Child Development and Reading for Pleasure

Abstract

The tools and technologies through which children engage with narratives are increasingly digital, dynamic, and wearable. The changes to communication in the digital age imply changes to children’s everyday literacy practices: today’s children engage with narratives embedded in online games, interactive apps or video stories. Some are commercial and entertainment-oriented and some specifically designed to support the development of children’s reading and writing skills. Many parents and teachers struggle to support children’s learning with digital media and the rapidly expanding landscape of interactive print stories. In comparison with adults or even teenagers, young children’s engagement with digital literary narratives is little examined. This interdisciplinary Research Coalition explores the extent to which young children’s reading for pleasure is being shaped by the narrative content, materiality, personalization, and interactivity of stories. Materiality, personalization, and interactivity have been foregrounded through the digitization of communication but they remain three key enduring issues in children’s reading for pleasure, implicated in a number of reading-related outcomes such as comprehension, school achievement and empathy.

The aim of the Coalition is for all members to jointly develop a strong knowledge base of current research in the area and agenda for future research. Collaborative research will be encouraged through meetings with members representing a range of disciplines, including psychology, neuroscience, education, literary studies, sociology, linguistics, computer science and communication and media studies. In addition to a special issue in Scientific Study of Literature, the Coalition aims to advance the field by organizing workshops and online discussions and holding an active dialogue with non-members interested in the Coalition’s mission, such as teachers, publishers and story app developers.

Members

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Natalia Kucirkova

Professor of Reading and Early Childhood Development, University of Stavanger, Norway; Professor of Reading and Children’s Development, The Open University, UK.

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Reading Outcomes (Mental and Social Well-Being)

Literary Reading and Explorations of Distress

Abstract

Why do we consume entertainment that causes us distress? Although dramas and tragedies have long been a part of our media consumption, empirical research remains limited; instead, scholars have largely focused on the appeal of hedonistic or “escapist” genres, such as light-hearted comedy. In recent years, entertainment psychologists have reinvigorated this inquiry by broadening our understanding of entertainment beyond pleasure-seeking to include meaning-seeking motives (Oliver, 2008; Oliver & Raney, 2011, Wirth, Hofer, & Schramm, 2012). The present review on ‘explorations of distress’ delves into theories and research approaches that explain and investigate the appeal of somber entertainment.

We start the review with mood management theory’s positivity bias in explaining hedonistic entertainment consumption and enjoyment. Subsequently, we review the more recent eudaimonic entertainment framework that seeks to explain the appreciation of “serious,” reflective content. In the process, other approaches to examining the appeal of somber entertainment are considered, from the theories of excitation transfer to terror management (Hanich, Wagner, Shah, Jacobsen, & Menninghaus, 2014). The review will conclude by taking a closer look at one aspect of the ‘explorations of distress’: the appeal of tragedy.

Tragedy is broadly defined as a story genre that depicts protagonists who grapple with traumatic events that remain unresolved in the duration of the plot. Along with this genre, the concept of catharsis is also re-examined as a possible audience response to tragic entertainment without recourse to the invalidated venting model. Drawing from clinical psychology (e.g., Lumley et al., 2008), catharsis is re-conceptualized as a beneficial, psychological process that involves emotional clarification or the labeling and processing of the audience’s unresolved emotional experiences through a reflective engagement in tragic entertainment. A preliminary model of catharsis through tragic drama is proposed for future experimental research.

Members

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Guan Soon Khoo

Associate Professor of Instruction, University of Texas, Austin, USA.

bio

Publications

  • Khoo, G. S., Oh, J., & Nah, S. (2021). Staying-at-home with tragedy: Self-expansion through narratives promotes positive coping with identity threat. Human Communication Research. 47(3), 309–334. doi: 10.1093/hcr/hqab005
  • Khoo, G. S. & Ash, E. (2021). Moved to justice: The effects of socially conscious films on social justice concerns. Mass Communication and Society. 24(1), 106-129, doi: 10.1080/15205436.2020.1779306 [preprint PDF]
  • Khoo, G. S. & Adkins, B. (2020). Catharsis. In Van den Bulck, J. (Ed.), International encyclopedia of media effects. Wiley.
  • Hofer, M. & Rieger, D. (2018). On being happy through entertainment: Hedonic and non-hedonic entertainment experiences. In: J. A. Muñiz Velázquez, & C. Pulido (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Positive Communication. Routledge.
  • Khoo, G. S. (2017). From terror to transcendence: Death reflection promotes preferences for human drama. Media Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/15213269.2017.1338965
  • Hofer, M. (2017). Responses to sad media/tragedy. In P. Rössler, C. A. Hoffner, & L. van Zoonen (Eds.), The International Encyclopedia of Media Effects (pp. 1731–1743). Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Rieger, D., & Hofer, M. (2017). How movies can ease the fear of death: The survival or death of the protagonists in meaningful movies. Mass Communication and Society, 18, 1–24. doi:10.1080/15205436.2017.1300666
  • Khoo, G. S. (2016). Contemplating tragedy raises gratifications and fosters self-acceptance. Human Communication Research. 42, 269–291. doi: 10.1111/hcre.12074
  • Khoo, G. S., & Graham-Engeland J. E. (2016). The benefits of contemplating tragic drama on self-regulation and health. Health Promotion International. 31, 187-199. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dau056
  • Hofer, M., Allemand, M., & Martin, M. (2014). Age differences in non-hedonic entertainment experiences. Journal of Communication, 64, 61–81. doi:10.1111/jcom.12074
  • Khoo, G. S., & Oliver, M. B. (2013). The therapeutic effects of narrative cinema through clarification: Reexamining catharsis. Scientific Study of Literature, 3, 266-293. doi: 10.1075/ssol.3.2.06kho
  • Hofer, M. (2013). Appreciation and enjoyment of meaningful entertainment. Journal of Media Psychology: Theories, Methods, and Applications, 25, 109–117. doi:10.1027/1864-1105/a000089
  • Hofer, M., & Wirth, W. (2012). It’s right to be sad: The role of meta-appraisals in the sad film paradoxon. A multiple mediator model. Journal of Media Psychology: Theories, Methods, and Applications, 24. 43-54. doi: 10.1027/1864-1105/a000061
  • Wirth, W., Hofer, M., & Schramm, H. (2012). Beyond pleasure: Exploring the eudaimonic entertainment experience. Human Communication Research, 38, 406–428. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2958.2012.01434.x

Resources

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Literary Reading and Mental Well-Being

Abstract

Literary reading and health has become an established field in the twenty-first century, impelled in part by the widespread phenomenon of reading groups in Europe and North America. Research has investigated the power of reading groups and shared reading to alleviate mental and physical health conditions (depression, dementia, chronic pain) by encouraging and enhancing mental processes, including: re-appraisal (of difficult experience, attitude towards self and others) and meta-cognition (the ability to think about one’s own thought processes including how to connect affective and cognitive responses and modify cognitive mode). The extent to which the complexity of literary texts (including stylistic and syntactic defamiliarization) helps mediate the observed and reported health benefits of shared reading is one strong current focus of research. Shared reading groups as a technology to enable emotionally sharing human communities is equally an important strand of exploration.

Published research crosses diverse disciplines – literature, linguistics, medicine, sociology, and psychology. It also employs a wide breadth of approaches. These range from: (i) established methods applied in a new area: psychological experimentation and/or health/well-being measurement using standardized quantitative tools; experiential and qualitative approaches including Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, Discourse Analysis, Ethnographic fieldwork. (ii) new quantitative tools for analyzing the phenomenology of reading; innovative qualitative methods (video-assisted interviews, for example, where reading-group participants are returned to the lived presence of their reading experience, as well as micro-phenomenological analysis of significant self-altering moments in reading). (iii) multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional approaches which combine observational or experiential approaches, with, for example, physiological measures (of real-time heart rate, galvanic skins response when reading texts) to capture and measure the underlying biological mechanisms involved in the dynamic cognition, affective/emotional reactions and animated thought produced by reading.

Members

member

Josie Billington

Professor, Department of English, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.

Josie Billington has published extensively on the power of literary reading to influence mental health and wellbeing through interdisciplinary research with colleagues in Medicine, Psychology, Sociology and Linguistics, and with national charity The Reader. She has led projects on reading in relation to depression, dementia, chronic pain and women prisons, working with UK National Health Service partners and government/public bodies and is currently engaged in projects on reading in relation to children, self-harm and autism. Her most recent books are Is Literature Healthy? (Oxford University Press) and Reading and Mental Health (Palgrave).

member

Patricia Canning

University College Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Patricia Canning lectures in linguistics, stylistics, and rhetoric at Utrecht University (UCU). She developed read-aloud programmes with female prisoners and male ex-prisoners, and established a series of reading projects and workshops in mental health contexts across Northern Ireland. She is co-editor of a special issue of Language and Literature on reader-response. Patricia is specifically interested in how style contributes to engaging reading experiences.

member

Philip Davis

Director, Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society (CRILS), University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.

Philip Davis is Director of CRILS, a centre for research into reading at the University of Liverpool. He is editor of The Reader magazine and general editor of the new Literary Agenda series issued in paperback by Oxford University Press. In collaboration with psychologists, medical/health professionals and neuroscientists, Davis’s research focuses particularly on: the place and value of serious reading in twenty-first century life; its relation to health and mental health agendas; how literary thinking is different to conventional or defaults thought-modes in relation to existence.

member

Mette Steenberg

Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.

Mette Steenberg holds a dual position as Director of The Reading Society (Laeseforeningen, a Danish voluntary organisation promoting Shared Reading) and researcher at Interacting Minds Centre, Aarhus University. She has carried out exploratory work on shared reading groups in various mental health settings and is currently involved in documenting the mental health benefits of shared reading for a population of psychologically vulnerable adults, together with a group of psychologists and anthropologists alongside developing referral models of shared reading for policy making. Mette’s current research interests lie in the skill of literary facilitation and the development of elicitation techniques.

Publications

  • Billington, J. (2021). Literature, reading and mental health. In P. Crawford and P. Kadetz (eds). Palgrave Encyclopedia of Health Humanities. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Billington, J. (2021). Shared reading for health and wellbeing: Promoting individual health, modelling healthy community. In H. Moon and E. Bromley (eds.), Harnessing humanness in healthcare: Relational and appreciative practices. Ohio: TAOS Institute Publications.
  • Billington, J. and Steenberg, M. (2021). Literary reading and mental wellbeing. In A. Jacobs and D. Kuiken (eds). The handbook of empirical studies of literature. Berlin: De Gruyter.
  • Chapple, M., Williams, S., Billington, J., et al. (2021). An analysis of the reading habits of autistic adults compared to neurotypical Adults. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2021.104003
  • Davis, P. and Billington, J. (2020). A methodology for literary reading. In J. Rose and M. Hammond (eds.). The Edinburgh history of reading, 4 vols [vol 2 Modern readers]. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 283-305.
  • Davis, P. and Billington, J. (2020). ‘Reading’, in P. Crawford (ed.), Companion to health humanities. London: Routledge, 282-86.
  • Billington, J. (ed) (2019). Reading and mental health. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Billington, J. (2017). Reading and chronic pain, in T. Stickley and S. Clift (eds.). Arts, health and wellbeing: A theoretical inquiry for practice. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 141-59.
  • Canning, P. and Whiteley, S. (2017). Reader response research in stylistics. Language and Literature, 26(2), 71–87. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963947017704724
  • Canning, P. (2017). Text-world theory and real world readers in prison reading groups. Language and Literature, 26(2), 172–187. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963947017704731
  • Steenberg, M. & Ladegaard, N. (2017). Guidet fælleslæsning: Litterær-æstetisk sundhedsfremme (pp. 175-190). In A. Jensen (Ed.), Kultur og Sundhed - en antologi. Aarhus: Turbine Akademisk.
  • Steenberg, M. (2016). Literary reading as a technology of the mind: An exploratory study on social forms of reading. In L. E. F. McKechnie, K. Oterholm, P.M. Rothbauer, & K. I. Skjerdingstad (Eds.). Plotting the Reading Experience: Theory/Practice/Politics (p. 183-198). Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
  • Billington, J. (2016). Is lLiterature healthy? Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Billington, J., Farrington, G., Lampropoulou, S., Lingwood, J., Jones, A., Ledson, J., Humphreys, A.-L. (2016). A comparative study of cognitive behavioural therapy and shared reading for chronic pain. Medical Humanities, 43(3), 155-65. https://doi.org/10.1136/medhum-2016-011047
  • Billington, J., Longden, E., and Robinson, J. (2016). A literature-based intervention for women prisoners: Preliminary findings. International Journal of Prisoner Health, 12:4, 230-243. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPH-09-2015-0031
  • Davis, P., & Billington, J. (2016). The very grief a cure of the disease. Changing English, 23(4), 396–408. https://doi.org/10.1080/1358684X.2016.1194188
  • Gray, E., Kiemle, G., Davis, P., & Billington, J. (2016). Making sense of mental health difficulties through live reading: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of being in a reader group. Arts & Health, 8(3), 248–261. https://doi.org/10.1080/17533015.2015.1121883
  • Longden, E., Davis, P., Carroll, J., Billington, J. (2016). An evaluation of shared reading groups for adults living with dementia: Preliminary Findings. Journal of Public Health, 15(2), 75-82. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMH-06-2015-0023
  • Longden, E., Davis, P., Billington, J., Lampropoulou, S., Farrington, G., Magee, F., Corcoran, R. (2015). Shared reading: Assessing the intrinsic value of a literature-based health intervention. Journal of Medical Humanities, 41(2), 113–120. https://doi.org/10.1136/medhum-2015-010704
  • Billington, J., Humphreys, A. L., Jones, A., and McDonnell, K. (2014). A literature-based intervention for people with chronic pain. Arts and Health, 8(1), 13–31. https://doi.org/10.1080/17533015.2014.957330
  • Steenberg, M., Bräuner P. & Wallot, S. (2014). Text technology: Building subjective and shared experience in reading. Journal of Cognition and Culture. 14(4), 357–372. https://doi.org/10.1163/15685373-12342131
  • Steenberg, M. (2013). Litteratur som behandling eller æstetisk praksis. Månedsskrift for Almen Praksis.
  • Steenberg, M. (2013). Laesning som social teknologi. I Gustaf Skar och Michael Tengberg (red.), Läsning!, s. 203-218. Svensklärarförenings årsskrift. Stockholm: Natur & Kultur.
  • Billington, J., Carroll., J. Davis, P., Healey, C., Kinderman, P. (2013). A literature-based intervention for older people living with dementia. Perspectives in Public Health, 133(3), 165-173. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1757913912470052
  • Billington, J., Davis, P., and Farrington, G. (2013). Reading as participatory art: An alternative mental health therapy. Journal of Arts and Communities, 5(1), 25–40. https://doi.org/10.1386/jaac.5.1.25_1
  • Canning, P. & Simpson, P. (2013). Action and event. In: P. Stockwell & S. Whiteley (eds.), The Handbook of Stylistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139237031.022
  • Simpson, P. & Canning, P. (2012) ‘Chicken and Egg Stylistics: From Lexical Semantics to Conceptual Integration Theory’. In: S. Csabi, L.Week & J. Zerkowitz (eds.). Current Trends in Pedagogical Stylistics (pp. 24–44). New York and London: Continuum.
  • Billington, J. (2012). “Reading for Life”: Prison reading groups in practice and theory. Critical Survey, 23(3), 67-85. https://doi.org/10.3167/cs.2011.230306
  • Dowrick, C., Billington, J., Robinson, J., Hamer, A., and Williams, C. (2012). Get into Reading as an intervention for common mental health problems: Exploring catalysts for change. Medical Humanities, 38(1), 15–20. https://doi.org/10.1136/medhum-2011-010083
  • Steenberg, M. (2012). Kom “ind i læsningen”. Anglofiles. Journal of English Teaching. # 166 on Reading.
  • Steenberg, M. (2011). Shared reading: Old technology in the era of digital media. Scandinavian Library Quarterly 44(3).
  • Hodge S, Robinson J, Davis P. (2007). Reading between the lines: The experiences of taking part in a community reading project. Journal of Medical Humanities, 33(2), 100–104. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jmh.2006.000256

Resources

Mood Scales
  • Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988). The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) is a self-report measure made up of two 10-item mood scales, i.e., two sets of words describing different states and emotions: 10 positive (e.g. interested, excited), 10 negative (e.g. nervous, jittery). Participants indicate next to each word the extent to which they are experiencing each emotion or state on a scale of 1- 5 (1 = not all; 5 = extremely). The scale can be used in pre/post test studies, or for capturing snapshot and real-time data.
    • (The original) PANAS (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988)
    • (The expanded) PANAS-X (Watson & Clark, 1994)
Qualitative Methods
  • Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009). Derived from the philosophy of Edmund Husserl, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) is a qualitative empirical approach that explores lived experience ‘from the inside,’ rather than starting from theoretical preconceptions or offering objective accounts of human experience. IPA seeks to provide detailed examination of individual perceptions and meanings in relation to specific events, objects, or states by attending to and inhabiting another’s perspective or life-world. Since the approach involves a double interpretative endeavor (making sense of how a person makes sense of the world), the researcher is required repeatedly to return to participant testimony and ensure that interpretation is based in the participants’ life-view. IPA is thus intellectually connected to hermeneutics (the theory of interpretation).
    • (Overview of) IPA (Smith & Osborne, 2007)
    • (Critical review of) IPA (Tuffour, 2017)

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Empirical Ecocriticism

Abstract

Empirical ecocriticism is an emerging subfield of ecocriticism that focuses on the empirically grounded study of environmental narrative – in literature, film, television, etc. – and its influence on various audiences. The main objective of empirical ecocriticism is to put to test empirically claims made within ecocriticism, and the environmental humanities more generally, about the impact of environmental narratives. To this end, it employs empirical methods used in disciplines such as environmental communication, environmental psychology, and the empirical study of literature. These include correlational and experimental studies, qualitative research, and others. As currently defined, empirical ecocriticism is (a) empirically grounded; (b) open to qualitative and exploratory methodologies; (c) focused on the effects of narrative strategies and techniques, with the kind of depth and nuance that cultural critics have brought to their research for decades; and (d) open to critical engagement with competing conceptions of “empirical” data. One the central aims of this interdisciplinary field is to gain a better understanding of the role of environmental narratives in influencing people’s awareness, attitudes, and behavior in a time of rapid social and ecological transformation. Combining approaches from the humanities and the social sciences, empirical ecocriticism explores the ways in which people from various cultural backgrounds engage with environmental narratives and the larger repercussions of such engagement.

Members

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Wojciech Małecki

Assistant Professor of Literary Theory, Institute of Polish Philology, University of Wrocław, Poland.

Wojciech is the author of two books, Embodying Pragmatism (Lang, 2010) and Human Minds and Animal Stories (Routledge,2019), the editor or co-editor of four collections of essays, and he has published numerous book chapters and contributed to journals such as Teksty Drugie, The Oxford Literary Review, Foucault Studies, Angelaki, Journal of Ecocriticism, Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics, PLOS One, Poetics, and others. Wojciech’s research interests include American pragmatism, the theory of interpretation, the environmental humanities, aesthetics, popular culture, and the empirical study of environmental literature. He is currently co-editing a thematic cluster of articles for the leading ecocritical journal ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment with Matthew Schneider-Mayerson and Alexa Weik von Mossner. With Alexa Weik von Mossner, Wojciech Małecki, and Frank Hakemulder, he is co-editing an edited volume on the topic.

member

Matthew Schneider-Mayerson

Assistant Professor of Social Sciences (Environmental Studies), Yale-NUS College, USA and Singapore.

Matthew’s research employs literary criticism, qualitative social science, and cultural history to examine cultural and political responses to contemporary environmental challenges, with a focus on climate change. He has published articles and book chapters on literature, popular culture, environmental futures, and environmental politics, and he is the author of Peak Oil: Apocalyptic Environmentalism and Libertarian Political Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2015) and the co-editor of An Ecotopian Lexicon (University of Minnesota Press, 2019). Together with Alexa Weik von Mossner, Matthew co-organized an interdisciplinary workshop on Empirical Ecocriticism at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich and is co-editing a thematic cluster of articles for the leading ecocritical journal ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. With Alexa Weik von Mossner, Wojciech Małecki, and Frank Hakemulder, he is co-editing an edited volume on the topic.

member

Alexa Weik von Mossner

Associate Professor of American Studies, University of Klagenfurt, Austria.

After working for several years in the German film and television industry, Alexa earned her PhD in Literature at the University of California, San Diego in 2008. Her research explores contemporary environmental culture from a cognitive ecocritical perspective, including empirical studies. Her publications include the monographs Cosmopolitan Minds (U of Texas P 2014) and Affective Ecologies (Ohio State UP 2017), as well as articles in journals such as Poetics Today, ISLE, and Textual Practice. Currently, Alexa is principal investigator on the research project “Narrative Encounters with Ethnic American Literatures” (2018-2021), which has been funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and combines cognitive narratological analysis with experimental reception studies. Together with Matthew Schneider-Mayerson, Alexa has co-organized an interdisciplinary workshop on Empirical Ecocriticism at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich and is co-editing a thematic cluster of articles for the leading ecocritical journal ISLE. Together with Matthew Schneider-Mayerson, Wojciech Małecki and Frank Hakemulder, she is co-editing an edited volume on the topic.

member

Frank Hakemulder

Assistant Professor, Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Utrecht University, The Netherlands; Affiliated Full Professor, Reading Centre, Stavanger University, Norway.

With a background in Literary Studies, Frank specializes in the psychology of reading literature. His research pertains to the effects of reading literary narrative fiction on wellbeing, attitude change, self-concept, and social perception. He has published several books and articles, among them The Moral Laboratory. Experiments Examining the Effects of Reading Literature on Social Perception and Moral Self-Concept (Benjamins, 2000), Scientific Methods for the Humanities (Benjamins, 2012), and Narrative Absorption (Benjamins, 2017). He also conducts studies concerning the reception of film and trains students in the humanities in both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Frank participated in the Empirical Ecocriticism Workshop at the Rachel Carson Center in December 2018 and subsequently joined Matthew Schneider-Mayerson, Wojciech Małecki, and Alexa Weik von Mossner as an editor on the Empirical Ecocriticism volume.

Publications

  • Małecki, Wojciech, Alexa Weik von Mossner and Małgorzata Dobrowolska. 2020. “Stories versus Speciesism: The Case of Alice Walker’s ‘Am I Blue?’” ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment.
  • Schneider-Mayerson, Matthew. 2020. “Climate Fiction, Empathy, and Environmental Justice: Surveying the Reception of The Water Knife.” ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment.
  • Małecki, Wojciech, Bogusław Pawłowski, Piotr Sorokowski, and Anna Oleszkiewicz. 2019. “Feeling for Textual Animals: Narrative Empathy Across Species Lines.” Poetics.
  • Małecki, Wojciech, Piotr Sorokowski, Bogusław Pawłowski, Marcin Cieński. 2019. Human Minds and Animal Stories: How Narratives Make Us Care About Other Species. New York and London: Routledge.
  • Małecki, Wojciech, Bogusław Pawłowski, Marcin Cieński, and Piotr Sorokowski. 2018. “Can Fiction Make Us Kinder to Other Species? The Impact of Fiction on pro-Animal Attitudes and Behavior.” Poetics 66 (February): 54–63.
  • Schneider-Mayerson, Matthew. 2018. “The Influence of Climate Fiction: An Empirical Survey of Readers.” Environmental Humanities 10(2).
  • De Mulder, H.N.M., Hakemulder, F., van den Berghe, Rianne, Klaassen, F. & van Berkum, J.J.A. 2017. Effects of exposure to literary narrative fiction - From book smart to street smart? Scientific Study of Literature, 7(1): 129-169.
  • Tan, Ed, Doicaru, Miruna, Hakemulder, F., Balint, K.E. & Kuijpers, M.M. 2017. Into film: - Does absorption in a movie’s story world pose a paradox? In Frank Hakemulder, Moniek Kuijpers, Ed S. Tan, Katalin Bálint & Miruna Doicaru (Eds.), Narrative Absorption. 97-118. John Benjamins.
  • Hakemulder, F., Kuijpers, M.M., Tan, Ed, Balint, K.E. & Doicaru, Miruna. 2017. Narrative Absorption. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Weik von Mossner, Alexa. 2017. Affective Ecologies: Empathy, Emotion and Environmental Narrative. Columbus: Ohio State University Press.
  • Małecki, Wojciech, Bogusław Pawłowski, and Piotr Sorokowski. 2016. “Literary Fiction Influences Attitudes toward Animal Welfare.” PLoS ONE 11.1212
  • Koopman, Emy & Hakemulder, Frank. 2015. Effects of Literature on Empathy and Self-Reflection - A Theoretical-Empirical Framework. Journal of Literary Theory, 9(1), 79-111
  • Schneider-Mayerson, Matthew. 2013. “Disaster Movies and the ‘Peak Oil’ Movement: Does Popular Culture Encourage Eco-Apocalyptic Beliefs in the U.S.?” Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature & Culture 7(3): 289-314.

Resources

Coalition Objectives

The main objective of empirical ecocriticism is to put to empirical test claims made within ecocriticism, and the environmental humanities more generally, about the impact of environmental narratives. To this end, it employs empirical methods used in disciplines such as environmental communication, environmental psychology, and the empirical study of literature. These include correlational and experimental studies, and others.

In its current working definition, empirical ecocriticism is

  • Empirically grounded
  • Open to qualitative and exploratory methodologies
  • Focused on the effects of narrative strategies and techniques, with the kind of depth and nuance that cultural critics have brought to their research for decades
  • Open to critical engagement with competing definitions of “empirical” data

While empirical ecocriticism focuses on employing established empirical methods, it therefore remains open to different characterizations of empirical data and to the use of humanistic methods as well, including those characteristic of traditional ecocriticism, such as textual and historical analysis.

For more information about this emerging coalition, follow this link: Empirical Ecocriticism. Recently the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society hosted a workshop on Empirical Ecocriticism. A report on that workshop is available here.

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History, Theory, and Method

Philosophy of Science, Methodology, and Theory Development

Abstract

This coalition focuses on philosophical, methodological, and theoretical challenges and opportunities in the scientific study of literary response, experience, and interpretation. Insofar as this “model-driven, multilevel, multimethod” enterprise (Jacobs et al., 2016) draws upon the paradigms of distinct disciplines, it inherits a wide range of paradigmatic problems. From philosophy of mind, the field inherits the “explanatory gap” between neurophysiological data and phenomenological experience. From (cognitive) psychology come methodological issues involved in the investigation of non-quantitative constructs that cannot be directly observed and that vary nontrivially across individuals and contexts. And from linguistics and literary studies arise a host of theoretical and ethical concerns relating to the nature and ontology of the object of inquiry (“literature,” “literary experience”) and its uses in individual lives and institutional practices. The important theoretical question emerges as to whether modeling in such an interdisciplinary science will proceed with a truly integrative as opposed to a merely additive ambition. Urging the former, members of this coalition have posited various ways that literary history and professional literary interpretation might contribute to a more integrative approach to the scientific study of literature.

Members

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Mark Bruhn

Professor of English Literature, Regis University, Denver, USA.

With a study of deixis published in 2005, Mark’s research took a turn toward “historical cognitive poetics,” which aims to assess the ways in which historical theories, practices, and interpretations of literature may contribute to present-day cognitive and empirical literary studies. His scholarship focuses on Romantic poetry in general and Wordsworth’s in particular, including a monograph Wordsworth Before Coleridge (Routledge, 2018) and contributions to Cognition, Literature, and History (Routledge, 2014), The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth (2015), The Palgrave Handbook of Affect Studies and Textual Criticism (2017), the de Gruyter Handbook of British Romanticism (2017), and Romanticism and Consciousness Revisited (2022). His literary-critical essays on English literature from Chaucer to Atwood have appeared in such journals as The Chaucer Review, European Romantic Review, Poetics Today, Studies in Philology, Studies in Romanticism, and The Wallace Stevens Journal. Website

member

Philip Davis

Director, Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society (CRILS), University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.

With Dr. Josie Billington, Philip left the Department of English in 2010 to form a centre within the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society that supports collaboration with psychologists and health professionals (as well as The Reader organization) in studies of the benefits of literary reading. He is general editor of the Oxford University Press paperback series entitled The Literary Agenda, which addresses future directions in literary studies. His most recent research includes studies of brain-imaging (fMRI and EEG) and language analysis of readers' personal and autobiographical responses (Reading in Action; forthcoming).

member

Arthur Jacobs

Professor of Experimental and Neurocognitive Psychology, Dahlem Institute for Neuroimaging of Emotion, Freie Universität Berlin (FUB), Berlin, Germany.

As part of the interdisciplinary “Languages of Emotion” project at FUB, Arthur led a team investigating the affective and aesthetic processes of reading. He has published many scientific publications about psycholinguistics, affective neuroscience, neurocognitive poetics, and reading and eye movements, as well as the book Gehirn und Gedicht (Brain and Poetry, 2011, with Raoul Schrott). He is currently Associate Editor for Scientific Study of Literature and for Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

member

Emily T. Troscianko

Research Associate, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), Oxford University, Oxford, UK.

Emily’s research hovers between cognitive literary studies and the health humanities. She has published a monograph on the psychological effects of reading Kafka (Kafka’s Cognitive Realism, 2014) and is co-author of the third edition of a textbook on consciousness (Consciousness: An Introduction, 2018). Her work in empirical literary studies began with an investigation of how scientific and philosophical perspectives on mental imagery and emotional responses help us understand the “Kafkaesque” power of Kafka’s prose style. More recently (and especially relevant to this coalition), her publications have included a coauthored paper for Poetics Today (2018) entitled “Interpretation: Its status as object or method of study in cognitive and unnatural narratology”. Emily conducts empirical studies on readers' responses to textual features using forced-choice, survey, and verbal/pictorial free-response procedures, as well as computational linguistics and eye-tracking methods. Her current work focuses mostly on whether readers' interactions with texts are therapeutically relevant (in positive or negative ways), taking eating disorders as a case study. Website (Photo by Sybilla Pereira)

member

Don Kuiken

Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Don specializes in the study of dreams, aesthetics, and phenomenology. He has published journal articles and book chapters concerning self-transformation through significant dreams and significant reading experiences, both of which involve metaphoric generativity. The notion guiding his research is that a metaphoric and enactive mode of identification is at work during both impactful dreams and significant reading events. Phenomenological (“qualitative”) studies identified what he calls expressive enactment (Kuiken, Miall, & Sikora, 2004; Kuiken, Sikora, & Miall, 2011). His conception of this mode of reading engagement emerged at the interface between philosophical phenomenology, literary theory, and empirical studies in psychology. He has developed phenomenological (“qualitative”) methods that provide a balance between sensitivity and rigor in the explication of experiential accounts (Kuiken, Schopflocher, & Wild, 1989; Kuiken & Miall, 2001; Sikora, Kuiken, & Miall, 2011).

Publications

  • Bruhn, M. J. (in press). ‘Poetry is passion’: Lyrical balladry as affective narratology. In J. Faflak & R. Sha (Eds.), Romanticism and Consciousness Revisited. Edinburgh University Press.
  • Bruhn, M. J. (2021). Philosophy of science, methodology, and theory development in empirical studies of literary experience. In D. Kuiken & A. Jacobs (Eds.), Handbook of Empirical Literary Studies (487-513). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
  • Davis, P. (2021). Not straightforward: Characteristics of the psychology of grammar in the Victorian realist novel. In D. Tyler (Ed.), On Style in Victorian Fiction (pp. 41-57). Cambridge University Press.
  • Kuiken, D., & Sopčák, P. (2021). Openness, reflective engagement, and self-altering literary reading. In D. Kuiken & A. M. Jacobs (Eds.), Handbook of Empirical Literary Studies (pp. 305-341). Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter.
  • Davis, P. (2020). Language: The drama in the brain. In K. Craik (Ed.), Shakespeare and Emotion (pp. 151-166). Cambridge University Press.
  • Davis, P., & Billington, J. (2020). ‘A bolt is shot back somewhere in the breast’: A methodology for literary reading. In J. Rose & M. Hammond (Eds.), History of Reading (pp. 283-305). Edinburgh University Press.
  • Davis, P., & Billington, J. (2019). Reading. In P. Crawford (Ed.), Routledge Companion to the Medical Humanities (282-286). London: Routledge.
  • Davis, P., Corcoran, R., Rylance, R., Zeman, A., Kidd, D., & de Bezenac, C. (2019). Reading: Brain, mind, and body. In J. Billington (Ed.), Reading and Mental Health (pp. 293-320). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Bruhn, M. J. (2018). Citation analysis: An empirical approach to professional literary interpretation, Scientific Study of Literature 8(1), 76-112.
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  • Bruhn, M. J. (2018). Intentionality and constraint in conceptual blending. In S. Czábi (Ed.), Expressive Minds and Artistic Creations: Studies in Cognitive Poetics (pp. 79-100). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Jacobs A. M. (2018) The Gutenberg English Poetry Corpus: Exemplary quantitative narrative analyses. Front. Digit. Humanit. 5:5. doi: 10.3389/fdigh.2018.00005
  • Jacobs, A. M. (2018). (Neuro-)cognitive poetics and computational stylistics. Scientific Study of Literature 8(1), 165-208.
  • Jacobs, A. M., & Kinder, A. (2018). What makes a metaphor literary? Answers from two computational studies, Metaphor and Symbol, 33(2), 85-100. https://doi.org/10.1080/10926488.2018.1434943
  • Willemsen, S., Kraglund, R.A., & Troscianko, E. T. (2018). Interpretation: Its status as object or method of study in cognitive and unnatural narratology. Poetics Today 39(3), 597-622.
  • Troscianko, E. T. (2018). Fiction-reading for good or ill: Eating disorders and the case for creative-bibliotherapy research. Medical Humanities, epub ahead of print: http://ifp.nyu.edu/2018/journal-article-abstracts/medhum-2017-011375v1/
  • Kuiken, D., & Douglas, S. (2018). Living metaphor as the site of bidirectional literary engagement. Scientific Study of Literature 8(1), 47-76.
  • Troscianko, E. T. (2017). How should we talk about reading experiences? Arguments and empirical evidence. In T. Koblížek (Ed.), Aesthetic illusion. New York: Bloomsbury.
  • Troscianko, E. T. (2017). Feedback in reading and disordered eating. In M. Burke and E.T. Troscianko (Eds), Cognitive literary science: Dialogues between literature and cognition (pp. 169-194). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Burke, M., & Troscianko, E. T. (Eds) (2017). Cognitive literary science: Dialogues between literature and cognition. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Bruhn, M. J. (2017). ‘The history and science of feeling’: Wordsworth’s affective poetics, then and now. In D. R. Wehrs & T. Blake (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Affect Studies and Textual Criticism (pp. 671-693). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
  • Davis, P., & Billington, J. (2016). The very grief a cure of the disease. Changing English, 23(4), 396–408. https://doi.org/10.1080/1358684X.2016.1194188
  • Willems, R. & Jacobs, A.M. (2016). Caring about Dostoyevsky: The untapped potential of studying literature. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 20, 243-245.
  • Jacobs, A. M., Lüdtke, J., Aryani, A., Meyer-Sickendiek, B., & Conrad, M. (2016). Mood-empathic and aesthetic responses in poetry reception: A model-guided, multilevel, multimethod approach. Scientific Study of Literature, 6(1), 87–130. doi:10.1075/ssol.6.1.06jac
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History of Empirical Studies of Literature

Abstract

Following David West (2017, 2013) the experiments included by IA Richards in Practical criticism: A study of literary Judgement “were the first large-scale experiments in psychology conducted to discover how real readers understand, interpret and evaluate literary texts” (2017: 88). Yet already in 1921, Karl Girgensohn, a Lutheran theologist who had been professor in Greifswald and Leipzig, had published protocols of the experiments on readers of several religious poems, which he began in 1911. His (14) subjects had to read the poems while their reading time was measured and afterwards they reported their reading experience and give a subjective evaluation of the poems. Although Girgensohn was more interested in the psychology of religion than in the aesthetic experience of the literary text, he undoubtedly used an empirical method to study the interaction between the reader and the text and, surprisingly, a method that is still in use. It was another contemporary who baptized this type of research. An almost unknown writer and lecturer, Richard Müller-Freienfels (1882-1942), published in 1914 a small volume entitled Poetik, which aimed to provide a psychological understanding of poetry and its reception. He called his approach “empirical literary science” (“empirische Literaturwissenschaft”, 1914: 17)

Regardless of which date for the origin of empirical studies of literature is considered most reliable, we can argue that the research field has been in existence for around a century. Remarkably, no history of the empirical aesthetics of literature has yet been written and no effort has been made to connect the empirical research carried out after 1900 with the “Pre-Empirical and Empirical Poetics since 1820” (Richter 2009, 129-176), including that of Gustav Theodor Fechner and Wilhelm Dilthey. Nobody has mapped the evolution of this research approach in which the German and American traditions played a major role although starting from completely different scientific premises. And, of course it would be useful to see the relation of the evolution of this research field with its institutionalization in scientific associations such as IGEL (founded in 1987 in Siegen; Steen 2003) and to analyze the role of international journals that have offered publication venues for this kind of analysis of literary reading (SSOL, Spiel, PACA, Poetics).

Members

member

Massimo Salgaro

Dept. of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.

member

Christoph Hoffmann

Professor of Science Studies, University of Luzern, Switzerland.

Publications

  • Sopcak, P., Salgaro, M. & Herrmann, J.B. (Eds.). (2016). Transdisciplinary Approaches to Literature and Empathy. Special Issue, Scientific Study of Literature, 6(1).
  • Salgaro, M., Vangi, M. (Eds.) (2016). Mythos Rhythmus. Wissenschaft. Kunst und Literatur um 1900. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.
  • Salgaro, M. (2015). How literary can literariness be? Methodological problems in the study of foregrounding. Scientific Study of Literature 5:2, 229–249. doi10.1075/ssol.5.2.06sal
  • Salgaro. M. (Ed) (2014). Robert Musil in der Klagenfurter Ausgabe. Bedingungen und Möglichkeiten einer digitalen Edition. München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag.
  • Hoffmann, C. (2013). Die Arbeit der Wissenschaften. Zürich-Berlin: diaphanes.
  • Calzoni, R., Salgaro, M., (Eds.) (2010). »Ein in der Phantasie durchgeführtes Experiment«. Literatur und Wissenschaft nach Neunzehnhundert. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
  • Salgaro M. (2009). The Text as a Manual. Some Reflections on the Concept of Language from a Neuroaesthetic Perspective. Journal of Literary Theory 3:1, 155–166.
  • Hoffmann, C. (2006). Unter Beobachtung: Naturforschung in der Zeit der Sinnesapparate. Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag.
  • Hoffmann, C. (1997). „Der Dichter am Apparat“: Medientechnik, Experimentalpsychologie und Texte Robert Musils 1899-1942. München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag.

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