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      Does narrative perspective influence readers’ perspective-taking? An empirical study on free indirect discourse, psycho-narration and first-person narration

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      Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
      Ubiquity Press, Ltd.

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          It is often assumed that narrating a story from the protagonist’s perspective increases the readers’ inclination to take over this perspective. In a questionnaire study, we examined to which degree different textual modes of narration (a) increase the degree to which the reader can generally relate to the protagonist (what we will call <italic>relatedness</italic>), (b) make the reader prone to imagine the scene from the <italic>spatial point-of-view </italic>of the protagonist, and (c) enhance the psychological perspective-taking of the reader, measured as <italic>identification </italic>with the protagonist. We employed two different types of texts—one literary and one non-literary—and tested them in four different modes of narration: free indirect discourse, psycho-narration, first-person narration and external focalization. In terms of the <italic>relatedness </italic>between the reader and protagonist and <italic>spatial perspective-taking </italic>the largest differences (descriptively) occurred between external focalization and psycho-narration (<italic>p </italic>&lt; .05 for <italic>relatedness</italic>, <italic>p </italic>&lt; .05 for <italic>spatial perspective-taking</italic>) and between external focalization and first-person narration (<italic>p </italic>&lt; .05 for <italic>relatedness</italic>, for <italic>spatial perspective-taking p </italic>&lt; .1). <italic>Identification</italic>, measured with items from a questionnaire on reading experience (Appel et al. 2002), was highest for first-person narration. Here, the difference between first-person narration and external focalization turned out significant only after including dispositional empathy, thematic interest for the text and attention during reading as covariates. Results for the other two perspective-taking measures were unaffected by the inclusion of the same covariates. In conclusion, our data show that first-person and psycho-narration increased the tendency to take over the perspective of the protagonist, but FID did not. This article is part of the special collection: <a href="/collections/special/perspective-taking/">Perspective Taking</a>

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          Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
          Ubiquity Press, Ltd.
          January 20 2017
          June 28 2017
          : 2
          : 1
          : 61
          © 2017


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