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Last Build Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2017 23:06:04 GMT


Science fiction triggers 'poorer reading', study finds

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 22:37:30 GMT

From The Guardian ( ---Quote--- In a paper published in the journal Scientific Study of Literature, Washington and Lee University professors Chris Gavaler and Dan Johnson set out to measure how identifying a text as science fiction makes readers automatically assume it is less worthwhile, in a literary sense, and thus devote less effort to reading it. They were prompted to do their experiment by a 2013 study which found that literary fiction made readers more empathetic than genre fiction. ... Readers of the science fiction story “appear to have expected an overall simpler story to comprehend, an expectation that overrode the actual qualities of the story itself”, so “the science fiction setting triggered poorer overall reading”. The science fiction setting “appears to predispose readers to a less effortful and comprehending mode of reading – or what we might term non-literary reading – regardless of the actual intrinsic difficulty of the text”, they write. ---End Quote--- This just seems sad to me. There are fantastic works of science fiction that DO bear careful reading. The authors did not get into causes, but they do want to investigate further: ---Quote--- Gavaler said that in the future, he would like to test readers’ responses to longer texts and to other genres, exploring whether “genre markers” such as a cowboy hat or a sorcerer’s wand would have similar effects on readers. ---End Quote---