Frank Hakemulder

Frank Hakemulder
Utrecht University | UU · Department of Media and Culture Studies

About

54
Publications
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Introduction
Frank Hakemulder has a background in literary theory and comparative literature. He did his Ph.D. (1998) at Literary Studies (Utrecht University) and Psychology (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign). He specializes in the psychology of literature, focusing on the effects of reading literary texts on outgroup attitudes and moral self-concept (e.g., The moral laboratory, 2000). He supervises two national research projects in the Netherlands: one pertaining to the experience of being absorbed in fictional worlds (Narrative Absorption, 2017), and the other on how such experiences affect social perception and self concepts (see www.finditinfiction.org). He is affiliated full professor at the Reading Center (Stavanger). He teaches Media Psychology and Communication at Utrecht University.

Publications

Publications (54)
Chapter
One major research area in the empirical study of literature pertains to the role of foregrounding (i. e., stylistic deviations and parallelism) in the reading process. The associated phenomena are arguably key to understanding what distinguishes literary reading and essential for the investigation of its impact on readers' interpretation and aesth...
Article
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Critical thinking and cognitive well-being are commonly associated to tendencies that do not come natu-rally to humans: inhibition of automatized cognitive processing (de-automatization) and thoughtful (re)construction of meaning. A previous study showed that students' growth in literary interpretation skills can be partly explained by skills and d...
Article
Previous research showed an emerging appreciation of literary narratives on second reading, whereas such effects fail to occur for the same narratives depleted of literary features. This might suggest that appreciation is associated with readers’ acknowledgment of the purposefulness of literary devices on rereading. It may also be that the increase...
Article
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Literary narrative fiction may be particularly effective in enhancing Theory of Mind (ToM), as it requires readers to contemplate author and character intentions in filling the literary ‘gaps’ that have been suggested to characterise this fiction type. The current study investigates direct and cumulative effects of reading literature on ToM using c...
Chapter
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Most film viewers know the experience of being deeply absorbed in the story of a popular film. It seems that at such moments they lose awareness of watching a movie. And yet it is highly unlikely that they completely ignore the fact that they watch a narrative and technological construction. Perhaps film viewers experi- ence being in a story world...
Book
Narrative Absorption brings together research from the social sciences and Humanities to solve a number of mysteries: Most of us will have had those moments, of being totally absorbed in a book, a movie, or computer game. Typically we do not have any idea about how we ended up in such a state. Nor do we fully realize how we might have changed as we...
Article
The experience of deviation is often referred to as foregrounding and contrasted with the experience of feeling absorbed in a narrative. However, instead of simply assuming that foregrounding and absorption are mutually exclusive, they should also be considered as co-occurring: being absorbed as a result of a deviating aspect of a story. In the pre...
Article
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Previous research suggests that literary reading may involve critical thinking. This involvement may facilitate critical literary understanding (CLU), i.e. understanding the literary text in a reconstructive, de-automatized manner. However, little is known about the cognitive processes this involvement entails. This study aims: (1) to conceptualize...
Conference Paper
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The study investigated how typography of deviating poetic elements in a suspense story influences readers' aesthetic appreciation, and the perceived meaningfulness of the story. Results showed a significant effect of typography on aesthetic appreciation of the story. The effect of typography on meaningfulness was mediated by the perceived strikingn...
Article
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Various scholars have made claims about literature’s potential to evoke empathy and self-reflection, which would eventually lead to more pro-social behav­ior. But is it indeed the case that a seemingly idle pass-time activity like literary reading can do all that? And if so, how can we explain such an influence? Would the effects be particular to u...
Article
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Even though there is extensive research on absorbing experiences with narrative media, an instrument able to measure different aspects of absorption in the story world of a textual narrative has yet to be developed. Such an instrument should be able to predict different evaluative responses while at the same time being sensitive to various stimulus...
Article
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There must be more to reading than just text comprehension — stories are to entertain, Brewer and Lichtenstein (1984) famously proclaimed. Hence, they said, research should focus more on how stories do that. What are the implications of this statement? Could that knowledge be of interest to people outside academia? For example, could it result in g...
Article
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Four experiments tested the effect of free indirect discourse (FID) on reader responses to a story representing immoral character behavior. In a short literary story narrator text was changed into FID, maintaining the same information concerning character feelings and thoughts. The studies reveal (partial) confirmation of the so-called FID hypothes...
Article
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This article approaches from an empirical perspective the interrelation between foregrounding and complexity in the evaluation of literary texts. For this purpose, a reading experiment is reported. Participants from three cultures (Brazil, Egypt, and the Netherlands) read three texts of different degrees of complexity and evaluated them on a number...
Article
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Research in experimental aesthetics suggests a relation between complexity and novelty on the one hand and hedonic value on the other (Berlyne, 1980). Defining foregrounding as deviation from daily language, the concept seems closely associated with novelty, and therefore a relation may be expected between the degree of deviation and readers' aesth...
Article
Though foregrounding theory was developed to understand responses to both literature and film, empirical research concentrated exclusively on reader response, until now. The present article examines whether `literariness' in film causes the same effects as those established for literature. In two experiments participants were shown one scene from S...
Article
The empirical study of literature (ESL) concerns all aspects of literary communication. Using methods of the social sciences, researchers test hypotheses concerning the processing, attitudes, and behavior of participants in processes ranging from the production of what are considered literary texts, their mediation, and their reception. One of the...
Article
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What literature is, how it works, and why it exists at all are some of the fascinating questions that the theory of foregrounding tries to answer. The term 'foregrounding' refers to specific linguistic devices, i.e., deviation and parallelism, that are used in literary texts in a functional and condensed way. These devices enhance the meaning poten...
Article
There is an abundance of theory concerning the effects of reading literature. Some researchers do reveal effects, but few explain them. When they do, the textual features examined are neither necessary nor sufficient for literariness. Three experiments are presented here that study the relation between literary text quality and literary reading exp...
Article
Kyiv National Linguistic University Fifth International Conference �Cultural Research: Challenges for the 3rd Millennium April 8 � 11
Article
Studies of narrative impact seldom pertain to what rhetorics claim the purpose of stories could be: adding persuasive power to a non-narrative argument. Neither do we know much about the narratological requirements for such stories to be effective. This study examined the effect of an essay including either a first-person or third-person narrative....
Article
Full-text available
Nell’s Lost in a Book (1988) put absorbed reading of narrative fiction on the map of scholarly interests. Besides characterizing it as a trance-like state, Nell did leave absorption largely untheorized. Researchers within various disciplines from both the Humanities and the Social Sciences have stepped in and tried to describe absorption. Their sep...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
The ELIT project, funded by the EU, will offer innovative and interdisciplinary training to a new generation of researchers in the empirical study of literature. https://www.elitnetwork.eu/ This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 860516.
Project
(1) develop the phenomenology, preconditions and underlying processes of how literary narrative fiction deepens perceptions of self and others; (2) apply the findings in social contexts; particularly, education and business.
Project
The current project aims to present a theoretically informed and empirical based taxonomy of experiential profiles of absorption (cf. Graesser et al. 1996). We will therefore explore the determinants and mechanisms that lead and contribute to absorption, looking in particular at (medium-specific) narrative procedures (cf. Semino 2003; 1997). In addition, we will relate these findings to the potential aesthetic nature of responses, taking into account that these may be medium-dependent. In this we will (necessarily) confine ourselves to two media: literature and film. Accordingly, our main research question reads: What is the role of absorption in aesthetic and other responses to literary and cinematic narrative?