Marissa Bertolussi and Peter Dixon reported on an experiment about perspective-taking when reading fiction. The question is how effortful perspective-taking is; the assumption seen sometimes is that perspective-taking is basically effortless. The experiment manipulates, through interruption of the reading experience, that effort. Interestingly, their interpretations of the findings involved their own perspective-taking of the reader. In designing the experiment they had assumed the perspective-taking would be of one character or the other, but as they interpreted results they started to think that readers may also be taking the perspective of the third person narrator. Interesting. Reminded me of a story “The Lesson,” published in The New Yorker long ago, by Jessamyn West, about a steer named Curly, where the story shifts perspective from the boy to his sister. Very subtle. The essence of literariness, too, that the writer skillfully changes perspective.
Blogs I Follow
- Chang-Rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea is a readable dystopia that really pushes the reader to think hard
- Enjoyed Cynthia Ozick’s story “The Coast of New Zealand” in The New Yorker
- Boneland by Alan Garner
- Encadrement du responsable du centre multimédia de Houndé (CMH) sur les techniques de rédaction des livres pour enfants
- Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas
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