ERIC Number: ED209661
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
Reference Count: 0
Investigating the Psychological Reality of Generic Characteristics of Short Stories.
Poston, Thomas H.
An experiment was conducted in which the story schema, an idealized representation of the parts of a typical story and the relationship among those parts, was derived inductively by examining a large number of actual published stories to extract their common properties. In addition to developing a schema that simultaneously defines the essential nature of stories and represents the psychological reality of story characteristics for readers, the project also sought to improve on previous story schema research by avoiding the use of self-generated or adapted stories or fairy tales. To minimize the possibility of subjects' previous familiarity with the stories, relatively obscure works were selected. Forty students were chosen from three classes of an undergraduate education course to assure a minimum reading and writing competence among the subjects. Each reader was asked to read and then retell one of the stories. The retelling was then analyzed to determine the degree to which it reproduced the schematic elements as they appeared in the original text of that story. The findings indicated: (1) strong support for the accuracy of the tested schema as representing the cognitive framework that readers use to interact with stories, (2) that retelling is superior to probing for "real" stories, (3) that the traditional category of "setting" is not indigenous to stories in the same way that the other schematic properties are, and (4) that stories vary in schematic density. (HOD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Schemata; Story Grammar
Note: Research prepared at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Best copy available.