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ERIC Number: EJ884825
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Searching for Judy: How Small Mysteries Affect Narrative Processes and Memory
Love, Jessica; McKoon, Gail; Gerrig, Richard J.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v36 n3 p790-796 May 2010
Current theories of text processing say little about how authors' narrative choices, including the introduction of small mysteries, can affect readers' narrative experiences. Gerrig, Love, and McKoon (2009) provided evidence that 1 type of small mystery--a character introduced without information linking him or her to the story--affects readers' moment-by-moment processing. For that project, participants read stories that introduced characters by proper name alone (e.g., "Judy") or with information connecting the character to the rest of the story (e.g., "our principal Judy"). In an online recognition probe task, responses to the character's name 3 lines after his or her introduction were faster when the character had not been introduced with connecting information, suggesting that the character remained accessible awaiting resolution. In the 4 experiments in this article, we extend our theoretical analysis of small mysteries. In Experiments 1 and 2, we found evidence that trait information (e.g., "daredevil Judy") is not sufficient to connect a character to a text. In Experiments 3 and 4, we found evidence that the moment-by-moment processing effects of such small mysteries also affect readers' memory for the stories. We interpret the results in terms of Kintsch's (1988) construction-integration model of discourse processing. (Contains 7 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A