Do readers encode the perceptual perspectives of characters during narrative comprehension? To address this question, we conducted two experiments using stories that sometimes described situations in which certain information was occluded from the protagonists' views. We generated two related hypotheses concerning the potential impact of occlusion events on text representations. One, the event boundary hypothesis, suggested that any salient narrative event would reduce the accessibility of prior story information. The second, the perceptual availability hypothesis, suggested that accessibility would decrease most for information no longer visible to story protagonists. In Experiment 1, the participants were slowest to respond to verification questions that asked about occluded information. In Experiment 2, we demonstrated that this effect did not extend to other, nonoccluded information. These results suggest that readers encode text information from the perceptual perspective of story protagonists. This is consistent with recent perceptual symbol views of language comprehension.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)