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What readers bring to the processing of fictional texts


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.


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Correspondence to Deborah A. Prentice.

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Prentice, D.A., Gerrig, R.J. & Bailis, D.S. What readers bring to the processing of fictional texts. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 4, 416–420 (1997).

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  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Agreement Rating
  • Text Processing
  • Fictional World
  • Elaboration Likelihood Model