Contextual modulation of reading rate for direct versus indirect speech quotations

Bo Yao, Christoph Scheepers

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    In human communication, direct speech (e.g., Mary said: " I'm hungry" ) is perceived to be more vivid than indirect speech (e.g., Mary said [that] she was hungry). However, the processing consequences of this distinction are largely unclear. In two experiments, participants were asked to either orally (Experiment 1) or silently (Experiment 2, eye-tracking) read written stories that contained either a direct speech or an indirect speech quotation. The context preceding those quotations described a situation that implied either a fast-speaking or a slow-speaking quoted protagonist. It was found that this context manipulation affected reading rates (in both oral and silent reading) for direct speech quotations, but not for indirect speech quotations. This suggests that readers are more likely to engage in perceptual simulations of the reported speech act when reading direct speech as opposed to meaning-equivalent indirect speech quotations, as part of a more vivid representation of the former. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)447-453
    Number of pages6
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


    • Direct speech
    • Indirect speech
    • Perceptual simulation
    • Reading


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