Readers’ experiences of characters’ goals and actions

In this article, the authors examined readers’ sensitivity to the match between characters’ goals and characters’ actions. In Experiment 1, readers integrated actions consistent with characters’ goals more easily when there was a match between the extremeness of the actions and the urgency of the goals. In Experiments 2 and 3, characters’ actions were consistent with either explicit or implicit goals. Participants showed different sensitivity to the mismatch between actions and urgent goals when they simply read the actions (Experiment 2) versus when they judged the likelihood of the actions (Experiment 3). Taken together, these results offer an account of how readers experience actions and goals when engaged in both local and global processing.   paper

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Last updated November 2009