Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 416–420 | Cite as

What readers bring to the processing of fictional texts

  • Deborah A. Prentice
  • Richard J. Gerrig
  • Daniel S. Bailis
Brief Reports


Research on text processing has generally focused on the types of inferences that all readers draw in common. Our research examines aspects of processing that depend on the particular relation of the reader to the text. Students read fictional stories that contained weak and unsupported assertions and that were set either at their own school or at another school. We expected that they would be prompted to process the story information thoroughly enough to reject the assertions only if they were familiar with the story setting. Consistent with this expectation, the results showed that the away-school story, but not the home-school story, had a significant impact on students’ beliefs. These results support the view that readers must actively construct disbelief when processing fictional information.


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Agreement Rating Text Processing Fictional World Elaboration Likelihood Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Allbritton, D. W., &Gerrig, R. J. (1991). Participatory responses in prose understanding.Journal of Memory & Language,30, 603–626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bartlett, F. C. (1932).Remembering: A study in experimental and social psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Davies, R. (1988).The lyre of Orpheus. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  4. Eagly, A. H., &Chaiken, S. (1993).The psychology of attitudes. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.Google Scholar
  5. Gerrig, R. J. (1993).Experiencing narrative worlds: On the psychological activities of reading. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Gerrig, R. J., &Prentice, D. A. (1991). The representation of fictional information.Psychological Science,2, 336–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gilbert, D. T. (1991). How mental systems believe.American Psychologist,46, 107–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gilbert, D. T., Krull, D. S., &Malone, P. S. (1990). Unbelieving the unbelievable: Some problems in the rejection of false information.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,59, 601–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Graesser, A., Singer, M., &Trabasso, T. (1994). Constructing inferences during narrative text comprehension.Psychological Review,101, 371–395.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. McKoon, G., &Ratcliff, R. (1992). Inference during reading.Psychological Review,99, 440–466.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Petty, R. E., &Cacioppo, J. T. (1984). The effects of involvement on responses to argument quantity and quality: Central and peripheral routes to persuasion.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,46, 69–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Petty, R. E., &Cacioppo, J. T. (1986). The elaboration likelihood model of persuasion. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.),Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 19, pp. 123–205). San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  13. Petty, R. E., Ostrom, T. M., &Brock, T. C. (Eds.) (1981).Cognitive responses in persuasion. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  14. Restak, R. M. (1988).The mind. New York: Bantam.Google Scholar
  15. Wood, W. (1982). Retrieval of attitude-relevant information from memory: Effects on susceptibility to persuasion and on intrinsic motivation.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,42, 798–810.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deborah A. Prentice
    • 1
  • Richard J. Gerrig
    • 2
  • Daniel S. Bailis
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyPrinceton UniversityPrinceton
  2. 2.State University of New YorkStony Brook
  3. 3.University of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

Personalised recommendations