Reader reactions to psychological perspective
Effects of narratorial stance
In this study, we used latent variable analysis to distinguish two components of reader reactions to narrative fiction: Evaluative reaction is the extent to which a character is seen as reasonable and rational, and experiential reaction is the extent to which the reader feels similar to and identifies with the character. We found that evaluative reaction was more negative when mental access to the character was provided, while experiential reaction was decreased by the use of a first-person (as opposed to third-person) narrator. These results were explained in terms of the additional cognitive processing engendered by the these narrative techniques. In particular, we hypothesized that a paucity of mental access leads readers to make their own inferences about the character’s mental state, while the use of third-person narration leads readers to draw on their personal experience in order to appreciate the circumstances of the character.
Keywords: narrative, narratorial technique, reader response, identification, perspective
Published online: 19 March 2021
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