ERIC Number: ED243080
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Story Interestingness: Goal Importance or Goal Attainment Difficulty?
Jose, Paul E.
While story grammar and cognitive science theories of stories state or imply that a story will be more interesting if the protagonist experiences difficulty in attaining his or her goal, neither theory considers that the importance of the goal may also affect how interesting the story is. The structural-affect theory, however, defines stories on the basis of the emotional responses they elicit in a reader, and, for that reason, considers goal importance to be a critical component of storyhood. A study used the structural-affect theory to predict that two story structures would affect the ratings of storyhood and story liking: the importance of the goal the protagonist pursued and the difficulty the protagonist experienced in attaining the goal. Subjects--32 first grade, 32 third grade, 38 fifth grade, and 41 college students--read specially created narratives that varied in terms of the importance of the goal to be attained by the protagonist and the difficulty encountered in attaining that goal. Data from all age groups confirmed the predictions. Results also showed that the subjects, particularly adults, expected the two structures to co-occur in stories, namely that important goals would be difficult to attain. The findings indicate that the story grammar and cognitive science descriptions of story "interestingness" are inadequate because they fail to consider readers' affective responses to stories. (Copies of stimulus materials are appended.) (FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Reader Text Relationship; Story Grammar; Story Structure; Structural Affect Theory
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (68th, New Orleans, LA, April 23-27, 1984).