Emotional inferences are conclusions that a reader draws about the emotional state of a story’s protagonist. In this study, we examined whether children and adults draw emotional inferences while reading short stories or listening to an aural presentation of short stories. We used an online method that assesses inferences during reading with a reaction time paradigm. Children aged 8 and 10 years and adults took part. We varied whether the short stories emphasized a certain goal of the protagonist in order to proof our assumption that protagonist-goals in stories help readers to build emotional inferences. Additionally, we assessed the updating capacity of our participants’ working memories assuming a positive influence. Results reveal that participants of all age groups drew emotional inferences. Type of text presentation, goal-emphasis, and updating capacity influence whether emotional inferences are built and how precise these inferences are. The way in which these variables influenced emotional inferences was moderated by the age of the participants.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 15, 2016
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