Manual Fictional Minds (Frontiers of Narrative)

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The data were averaged for each scale of the immersion questionnaire. For each other measure e. The data of the online sample and the reference group, which was tested in the lab were analyzed separately. Each of the measures was analyzed in a separate model with fictionality fact or fiction and perspective 1st or 3rd person as predictors which were allowed to interact, and story as random effect with random intercept Baayen et al.

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In addition, individual differences in preference for perspective taking, gender, age, education level, whether Dutch was native language or not, and the two mean scores for general exposure to fictional and factual stories were included as factors in the model. For the 2 models testing reaction time in the picture recognition task we also included whether the response was correct or not. Age, education level, and whether they were native speakers of Dutch were not included in the model for the reference group because of the homogeneity of the sample. P-values for specific effects were obtained by a model comparison procedure using the asymptotic chi square distribution.

Statistical details about all models and results can be found in the supplementary materials Datasheets S4, S5. Because of the number of measures, we first report a summary of findings, followed by statistical details per measure.


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We want to point out that due to our large sample size, effects with very small effect sizes can become statistically significant. For ease of reading, the results of the reference group are only reported for the picture task as they did not differ drastically from the online group. Details about the statistical models and the results of both groups can be found in the supplementary material Datasheet S4.

Whether the stories were presented as fictional or factual had no influence on how long participants spent on reading the stories, or on any of the immersion subscales. In sum, whether stories were presented as fictional or as factual did not influence reading experience as we measured it. For perspective 1st or 3rd person , the second factor of interest, several statistically significant effects were observed.

There was no effect of perspective on reading time, nor on the immersion subscales attention, transportation, and mental imagery. Otherwise, none of the appreciation measures were affected by the perspective of the story and there were no interaction effects. High scores for both 1st person perspective preference and 3rd person perspective preference were associated with higher scores on all scales of the immersion questionnaire 0.

In addition, 1st and 3rd person preference were associated with lower scores on the rating whether the stories were perceived as sad. In the picture task, we observe no effect for fictionality or perspective. There were no differences in the reaction times to pictures associated with condition, perspective, or perspective taking preference.


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  5. For the distribution of effects between stories, see Datasheet 6, the full data set is available for further analyses and replication on Datasheet 7. Differences in perspective taking; A 1st person perspective taking, B 3rd person perspective taking. There was no difference in perspective taking depending on whether the stories were presented as factual or fictional. Stories in 1st person perspective were rated significantly higher for 1st person perspective taking than stories in 3rd person perspective. Time in seconds participants took to read the story. There was no difference between reading times in the fictional or factual condition, as well as no difference in reading time dependent on perspective.

    There was no difference in immersion depending on whether the stories were presented as factual or fictional. Stories in 1st person perspective had significantly higher scores for attention and emotional engagement with the protagonist compared to stories in 3rd person perspective, but not for transportation and mental imagery during reading.

    There were no significant effects of fictionality or perspective. However, there were main effects for perspective taking preference: Moreover, there are no effects for perspective taking 1st person: In addition, there were also no effects for perspective taking 1st person: In the present study, we tested the influence of perspective referring to protagonists of short stories labeled as fictional or as based on true events.

    We measured immersion and appreciation as well as memory for events depicted in the stories with an online study reaching a broad sample of readers from all ages. In line with previous research we found that 1st person stories facilitate 1st person perspective taking. In addition, we found that 1st person stories can lead to higher emotional engagement with the protagonist compared to 3rd person stories.

    However, we did not replicate earlier findings Hartung et al. Moreover, we found that people who like reading fiction generally read faster and are more likely to engage in 1st person perspective taking. Despite not finding effects for the perspective in which the story is narrated, we find evidence that perspective taking influences immersion and appreciation of stories. Readers who engage in perspective taking, regardless of whether they select 1st or 3rd person perspective, report higher immersion during reading and like the stories better.

    Instead, we found evidence that people who engage in 1st person perspective taking during reading respond more accurately to pictures from 1st and 3rd person perspective, whereas readers who engage in 3rd person perspective taking only have an advantage in responding to pictures from 3rd person perspective.

    This suggests that engaging in a story from a 1st person perspective allows readers to construct a more flexible mental representation of the events in the story compared to readers who immerse from a spectator's perspective. We find no reaction time advantages in the picture recognition task associated with perspective taking.

    This could be attributed to the less controlled settings in our online study as compared to typical behavioral experiments in the lab. Yet, we also do not observe any trend for an effect in the reference group. These effects seem to be difficult to replicate see this replication attempt of the same lab in response to a failed replication by another group: The finding that perspective can influence some aspects of reading is in line with previous research Hartung et al. However, in contrast to the findings reported by Hartung et al.

    Engaging in perspective taking during reading in turn seems to increase immersion and appreciation across all measures, so the pronoun effect reported by earlier research is likely to be an indirect effect of perspective taking and might also vary for different stories. Future research is needed to scrutinize this finding in more detail. There were some notable individual differences dependent on whether people have a general preference for engaging with fictional or factual stories.

    We found that avid readers of fiction are also faster readers which is in line with the notion that reading goals associated with fiction are linked to reduced scrutiny and attention to detail Green et al. Moreover, avid readers are more likely to engage in 1st person perspective taking which could be related to the hypothesis that fiction reading is linked to empathy and perspective taking e. In addition, we find age-related differences in multipole measures indicating that older readers generally score lower on most of our measures.

    As the effect sizes are negligibly small, we refrain from interpreting them because it is likely that these effects are linked to the type of material we chose or older readers being more critical rather than being an effect of psychological interest. We found throughout all our measures no evidence that knowing that a story is based on true or fictional events affects reading behavior, experiential aspects of reading, or memory for events in the stories.

    The results show that the belief a reader has about whether a story is based on a true event or not has no effect on the experiential aspects of reading such as immersion and appreciation of stories. This is in line with accounts that argue that an engaging narrative style is more important than readers' expectations about the fictionality of the information van Krieken et al. The fact that we do not observe any difference between stories labeled as based on true or fictional events seems to be in contrast with previous experimental research on the effects of factuality on reading behavior which showed that factual and fictional stories are read differently Zwaan, ; Altmann et al.

    Yet, we think that our findings are complementary rather than in contrast with previous findings. This manipulation does not only address factuality of the information, but likely is confounded with different genre and reading situation dependent contexts and reading goals. In our study, we used literary short stories in both conditions labeled as being factual or made up. The manipulation we used is subtler in a sense, because whether the story was believed to be based on true events and characters, or entirely fictional was the only factor being manipulated.

    This is both an advantage as well as the main limitation of our study as it is easily argued that our manipulation was too subtle and did not work. Yet, we think that this null-finding is interesting and raises an important conceptual issue with the current research. While differences in reading behavior have previously been attributed to readers' expectations regarding factuality of the events, it is very possible that the effects are based on genre specific reading goals. Based on our finding we suggest that the reading goals which are associated with certain reading contexts are more important drivers for reading behavior than whether the story is believed to be fictional or not.

    The previously reported effects might therefore be better attributed to systematic effects of reading situation rather than the factuality of the content. While expository texts like newspaper or textbooks are all about extracting relevant information in appropriate detail, narratives whether they are true or not are often about people and social knowledge.

    This interpretation is fully in line with the theory that readers activate the appropriate reading goals for the current situation and systematically select criteria and strategies for comprehension Zwaan, ; van den Broek et al. Reading narratives clearly activates different reading goals than non-narrative texts, but true and fictional narratives don't necessarily differ in the reading goals that they trigger.

    Our results and interpretation however are limited to the materials we used in this study. It is entirely possible that the reading experience of stories with different content than the stories that we used here e. A related possibility is that in some genres fictionality is important, but in others it is not. Future research is needed to better qualify the interaction of factuality with different types of texts and reading goals. The present study provides experimental evidence that prior knowledge about a story being fictional or based on true events does not influence reading behavior.

    Instead, it seems that reading goals associated with certain situations and types of text are stronger predictors of reading behavior. This finding could be of relevance for accounts arguing for an educational role of fiction reading in social learning Oatley, b ; Mar and Oatley, We showed that that value of fiction narrative may have more to do with the narrative character of the materials the fact that they are narratives than with whether they are fiction or not.

    The study was conceived and designed by FH and RW. PW wrote the software for the experiment and contributed to the experiment design and data collection. The data were analyzed by FH. All authors approve the current version and agree to be accountable of all aspects of the work. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

    We thank Martin Rombouts for writing the stories for this experiment, and Charlotte Horn, Anne Mickan, Marc van Oostendorp, Stichting lezen, Onze Taal, Wintertuin, and the Dutch libraries for helping with advertising the study and recruiting participants. The Supplementary Material for this article can be found online at: Meeting george bush versus meeting cinderella: The role of perspective in the accessibility of goals during reading. PubMed Abstract Google Scholar. Fact vs fiction—how paratextual information shapes our reading processes.

    Mixed-effects modeling with crossed random effects for subjects and items. Mentally simulating narrative perspective is not universal or necessary for language comprehension. Scholars of semiotics, comparative literature, world literature, linguistics, communications, media studies, literary theory. To mark the affiliation between the European Narratology Network and the journal Frontiers of Narrative Studies , we are pleased to announce a special issue of the journal featuring a selection of papers from ENN scholars.

    Fictional Minds

    The special issue will be published in , and it is conceived as a showcase of cutting-edge research in narratology and narrative studies from ENN5 in Prague. No particular thematic restrictions apply. We welcome abstracts based on contributions to the ENN5 conference. Please submit about words, outlining the scope and ambition of your proposed paper, by 15 October Full-length articles 8,, words including references are then due by 15 March in order to ensure publication in Submissions to the journal should be written in English. Contributors whose native language is not English should have their manuscripts read by a native speaker before submission.

    Contributions should be sent to the editor biwushang sjtu. An abstract of between and words must be submitted together with the contribution. Examples not in English must have aligned interlinear glosses and an idiomatic translation. Figures and diagrams must be reproducible originals and should be submitted on separate sheets, carefully numbered and labeled.

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    They should be referred to in the text and the approximate position should be indicated. Notes should be kept to an absolute minimum and be as brief as possible. They may contain no diagrams or tables. They should be numbered consecutively and indicated in the text by a raised superscript number following any punctuation marks. Once accepted for publication, the author s will be required to submit the final version electronically conforming to journal style.

    Frontiers of Narrative Studies

    Please see the De Gruyter Mouton journal style sheet for details regarding journal style. If possible, a common wordprocessing program such as WORD should be used. Any special characters used should be labeled and clearly identified at their first occurrence.