Faculté des lettres

Understanding Emotions in Text: Readers Do Not Represent Specific Emotions

Gygax, Pascal ; Garnham, Alan ; Oakhill, Jane

Gygax, Oakhill and Garnham (2003) showed that, contrary to the assumption of earlier research (e.g. Gernsbacher, Goldsmith, & Robertson, 1992), readers do not infer specific emotions such as guilt or boredom. This paper presents evidence for the non-specificity of emotional inferences regardless of the nature of the stories. In Experiment 1 and 2, Gygax et al.’s stories were made longer. In... Plus

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    Summary
    Gygax, Oakhill and Garnham (2003) showed that, contrary to the assumption of earlier research (e.g. Gernsbacher, Goldsmith, & Robertson, 1992), readers do not infer specific emotions such as guilt or boredom. This paper presents evidence for the non-specificity of emotional inferences regardless of the nature of the stories. In Experiment 1 and 2, Gygax et al.’s stories were made longer. In Experiment 1 (off-line), people rated specific emotions as more likely, but in Experiment 2 (on-line), there was no difference between target sentences containing different matching emotions, although participants took longer to read sentences containing emotions mismatching the stories. In Experiment 3 and 4, the stories included a coherence break resolvable by inferring the main character's emotional state. In Experiment 3 (off-line), people rated specific emotions as more likely, but in Experiment 4 (on-line), there was, again, no difference between target sentences containing different matching emotions.