Another #IGEL2016 paper: Anne Mangen on reading fiction

Anne Mangen from the Norwegian Reading Center reported on a replication effort (with Anezka Kuzmicova) of the widely reported Kidd and Castano 2013 paper on whether Chekhovian fiction produced more empathy than regular writing. The sample size was small, just 31, and the team measured multiple outcomes including reading mind in the eyes of Baron-Cohen, PISA-like questions and others. They used a text by Katherine Mansfield, The Fly, originally written in a relatively baroque, ornamented style, and had a professional writer strip away all metaphor, simile and obscure phrasing with more straightforward phrasing.  Less foregrounding, in short.   They found no main effect, suggesting, as others have noted, that the Kidd and Castano effect was probably a p-hacking, hype-driven, power-posing, disservice to the scientific study of reading that everyone else in the field is secretly envious of!

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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