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Expectations on hierarchical scales of discourse: Multifractality predicts both short- and long-range effects of violating gender expectations in text reading

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Wallot,  Sebastian
Department of Language and Literature, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;
University Aarhus;

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Citation

Booth, C. R., Brown, H. L., Eason, E. G., Wallot, S., & Kelty-Stephen, D. G. (2018). Expectations on hierarchical scales of discourse: Multifractality predicts both short- and long-range effects of violating gender expectations in text reading. Discourse Processes, 55(1), 12-30. doi:10.1080/0163853X.2016.1197811.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-4498-0
Abstract
Reader expectations form across hierarchical scales of discourse (e.g., from coarse to fine: genre, narrative, syntax). Cross-scale interactivity produces word reading times (RTs) with multifractal structure. After introducing multifractals, we test two hypotheses regarding their relevance to reader expectations: (1) multifractal evidence of cross-scale interactions from RTs preceding violation of expectations would interact with mean reading speed to predict RTs immediately after the expectation violation and (2) postsurprise RTs would exhibit stronger cross-scale interactions. Thirty-four adult participants read one of two 2,000-word stories that used gender stereotypes to suggest that an ambiguously named protagonist was male. However, the stories postponed gender information until word 1,000: male in one story and female in the other. For slower readers, cross-scale interactions accentuated postreveal slowing but also minimized subsequent pausing over 15 postreveal RTs. Surprise strengthened cross-scale interactions over all postsurprise RTs. These results suggest that multifractality may index anticipation across multiple scales of discourse.