ERIC Number: ED236547
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Oct
Reference Count: 0
The Development of Story Liking: Character Identification, Suspense, and Outcome Resolution. Technical Report No. 291.
Jose, Paul E.; Brewer, William F.
To examine the effect of structural factors on the development of story appreciation, a developmental model of story liking for suspense stories was tested by having second, fourth, and sixth grade children rate suspense stories on 10 affective scales. Specifically, the model predicted that (1) reader identification would increase with greater perceived similarity between character and reader, (2) increased identification would lead to greater suspense, (3) liking of outcome would be a joint function of character valence and outcome valence, and (4) overall liking of story would increase with greater identification, greater suspense, and greater liking of outcome. Results revealed four causal links that operated in the appraisal process of evaluating a story. First, similarity was found to be a major basis for identifying with a character. Second, sympathetic caring for a strong character caused suspense when the character faced a significant consequence. Third, liking of the story's outcome was determined by resolution of suspense by a positive ending for young children and by the "just world" ending for older children. Fourth, overall liking of a story was found to be caused by identification with the story character, suspense, and liking of outcome. A strong developmental trend in evaluations of story endings was also found: young children preferred positive outcomes regardless of the valence of the character, but older children liked positive endings for good characters and negative endings for bad characters. (HOD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Child Health and Human Development (NIH), Bethesda, MD.; National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana. Center for the Study of Reading.; Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc., Cambridge, MA.
Identifiers: Suspense Stories
Note: A version of this paper was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association (Chicago, IL, May 5-7, 1983). To appear in "Developmental Psychology."