Award Date

December 2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Committee Member

Russell T. Hurlburt

Second Committee Member

Christopher L. Heavey

Third Committee Member

Stephen D. Benning

Fourth Committee Member

Douglas A. Unger

Number of Pages

211

Abstract

Reading is ubiquitous. In Western culture, childhood education places a strong emphasis on acquiring the ability to read. Whereas many studies have examined the cognitive processes underlying reading ability, no previous studies have used a high-fidelity method of sampling inner experience to examine the direct, momentary inner experience while reading. The current study used the Descriptive Experience Sampling Method (DES) to explore the inner experience of 17 undergraduates, who had been trained in DES, while reading classical short stories. We found that participants while reading often innerly saw a visual depiction of the story, though the congruency of these depictions with the actual story on the page varied across participants and across moments. We also found that words were often present in participants’ experience, though they were rarely, if ever, present as simply innerly voicing the text as it was read. We further observed that experiential styles while reading varied across participants, including the degree to which imagery or words were present while reading fiction. Implications and limitations of these findings were discussed.

Keywords

fiction; inner experience; qualitative; reading

Disciplines

Psychology

Language

English


Included in

Psychology Commons

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