Imagery and emotional response in reading literary text: Quantitative and qualitative analyses

Ernest T. Goetz, Mark Sadoski, Michael L. Stowe, Thomas G. Fetsco, Susan G. Kemp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Quantitative and qualitative aspects of readers' responses to literary text were investigated. College students read a story about the first buffalo hunt of a Sioux youth. The story was presented by a microcomputer to permit monitoring and recording of on-line indices of physiological (i.e., heart rate) and cognitive (i.e., reading time) processes that might be related to imagery and emotional response. After readers had completed reading the story, their imagery and emotional responses were investigated more directly via free reports and ratings of story paragraphs. Although heart rate was not related to imagery or emotional response measures, reading time decreased as emotional response ratings increased. Despite several major procedural variations, imagery and emotional response ratings were highly correlated with those of a previous study using the same story (Sadoski and Goetz, 1985); the relationship between imagery and emotional response ratings remained virtually identical across the two studies. Free reports proved amenable to highly reliable coding procedures and provided a wealth of information regarding qualitative aspects of readers' imagery and emotional responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-49
Number of pages15
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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