Edited by Paul Sopčák, Massimo Salgaro and J. Berenike Herrmann
[Scientific Study of Literature 6:1] 2016
► pp. 87–130
Mood-empathic and aesthetic responses in poetry reception
A model-guided, multilevel, multimethod approach
In the present study we investigate factors shaping poetry reception at multiple levels of analysis. We use both qualitative and quantitative means for describing structural aspects of poems, scales for assessing subjective dimensions, as well as behavioral and peripheral-physiological measures. Applying such mixed analyses we tested three hypotheses derived from the Neurocognitive Poetics Model of literary reading (Jacobs, 2011, 2015a, 2015b): (a) the multilevel hypothesis stating that textual features at four relevant levels of textual analysis (supralexical, interlexical, lexical and sublexical) affect empathic/immersive and aesthetic-liking processes of poetry reception at all three levels of measurement (experiential, peripheral-physiological, and behavioral); (b) the mood empathy hypothesis stating that poems expressing moods of persons, atmospheres, situations, or objects should engage readers to mentally simulate and affectively resonate with the depicted state of affairs (see also Lüdtke et al., 2014); and (c) the aesthetic trajectory hypothesis stating that poems with a high amount of foregrounding facilitate aesthetic liking responses. The results are in line with all three hypotheses and raise a number of questions for future research on poetry reception.
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