Context-dependent Processes and Engagement in Reading Literature


It does not do the act of reading literature any justice to describe it as simply processing text to acquire information or knowledge. We enjoy reading stories, we become absorbed in them. Our absorption into stories is related to their contextual structure. We develop a statistical method for the analysis of reading time distributions which allows us to assess the context of a story rather than merely its text. This analysis detects statistically distinct distributions of reading times, with each distribution representing a distinct process or mode of reading. Our experiments support the hypothesis that the temporal change in these modes of reading are related to changes in the degrees of absorption of the subjects and also in the contextual structure of the stories being read.

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