T-Rex – Triggers of Reader Emotion and Experientiality

T-Rex – Triggers of Reader Emotion and Experientiality

We all know the feeling: while reading literature you suddenly have the strong experience of what it must be like to smell the grass that is mentioned in the text, to be transformed into a monstrous vermin, or to have been on Westminster Bridge one early morning in 1802. But how do texts do that? What are the textual structures that trigger these phenomena, or to put it in a slightly more technical terminology, how is Experientiality triggered? These are the questions we are asking in our research program T-Rex.

Empirical Research on Individual Dimensions of Experientiality

In the first phase of the T-Rex program we conduct small scale empirical research projects on individual dimensions of experientiality and related phenomena. This is necessary to test and refine our theoretical concepts of experientiality. The finished PhD projects of Julia Vaeßen and Aljoscha Merk (Link einfügen) have laid some of the foundations for this. The parts of Caroline Kutsch's PhD project that are already published equally belong into the context (Link) just as the joint work of Jessica Jumpertz and Jan Alber (Link).

Multi-dimensional Observation of Reading Processes

These projects will then provide the basis for a large-scale research-project that investigates the cognitive mechanism responsible for the triggering of reader emotions and experientiality. Methodologically, we will not constrain ourselves to asking readers about their reading experience after the fact. Additionally, we will measure physiological data like eye movement, skin conductivity or heart rate to draw conclusions about the underlying cognitive and emotional processes.