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The Interaction of Time Shifts and Goal Structure in Written Narratives William Levine University of Arkansas Time and comprehension Temporal adverbials events, actions (Zwaan, 1996; Zwaan, Madden, & Whitten, 2000) spatial information (Levine & Klin, 2001)

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the interaction of time shifts and goal structure in written narratives

The Interaction of Time Shifts and Goal Structure in Written Narratives

William Levine

University of Arkansas

time and comprehension
Time and comprehension

Temporal adverbials

  • events, actions (Zwaan, 1996; Zwaan, Madden, & Whitten, 2000)
  • spatial information (Levine & Klin, 2001)
  • characters (Anderson, Garrod, & Sanford, 1983)

Tense & aspect

  • events, actions (Magliano & Schleich, 2000)
  • spatial information (Morrow, 1985)
  • characters (Carreiras, Carriedo, Alonso, & Fernandez, 1997)
  • attributes (Carreiras et al., 1997)
slide3

property (event, person, etc.)

time shift

property

time shift

time and goals
Time and goals

Goals are like events?

  • Yes, they have a temporal arc.
  • No, intentions are mental states.

Goals are like attributes?

  • Yes, they help explain a character’s actions.
  • No, they are typically more important.
experiment 1 sample passage
Experiment 1 - Sample passage

The atmosphere on the cruise ship was getting tense. Several valuable items had disappeared from the cabins, and the captain needed to find the thief. But there were several hundred passengers. The captain conducted a thorough investigation …

… but was unable to nab the thief. (unsatisfied goal)

… and was able to nab the thief. (satisfied goal)

A few minutes later / The next day, the captain was sitting in his office.

Recognition probe: thief

His desk was covered in reports of stolen items, and he decided that he should just call the police at the next port. He was a ship captain, not an investigator. (unsatisfied goal ending)

His desk was covered in thank-you cards from the passengers, and he was proud of himself for catching the thief so quickly. (satisfied goal ending)

experiment 1 methods
Experiment 1 - Methods
  • Self-paced, line-by-line reading
  • Probes signaled by XXX for 500 ms
  • Probes were nouns related to goal
  • Speed and accuracy emphasized
  • Fillers, lures
  • 56 subjects (UA undergrads)
experiment 1 summary
Experiment 1 - Summary
  • Slight time-shift effect for satisfied goals
  • Slight reverse time-shift effect for unsatisfied goals
  • No goal satisfaction effect
experiment 2 sample passage
Experiment 2 - Sample passage

The atmosphere on the cruise ship was getting tense. Several valuable items had disappeared from the cabins, and the captain needed to find the thief. But there were several hundred passengers. The captain conducted a thorough investigation …

… but was unable to solve the crime. (unsatisfied goal)

… and was able to solve the crime. (satisfied goal)

A few minutes later / The next day, the captain was sitting in his office.

Recognition probe: thief

His desk was covered in reports of stolen items, and he decided that he should just call the police at the next port. He was a ship captain, not an investigator. (unsatisfied goal ending)

His desk was covered in thank-you cards from the passengers, and he was proud of himself for catching the thief so quickly. (satisfied goal ending)

experiment 2 methods
Experiment 2 - Methods
  • Same as Exp 1 except that speed was heavily emphasized
  • 44 subjects (UA undergrads)
experiment 2 summary
Experiment 2 - Summary
  • Slight time-shift effect for satisfied goals
  • Reverse time-shift effect for unsatisfied goals
  • Goal satisfaction effect after long time shift (but not after short shift)
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Reverse time-shift effect for unsatisfied goals
    • Suspense & p-responses (Allbritton & Gerrig, 1991)?
  • Weak time-shift effect for satisfied goals
    • Satisfied goals do not settle to baseline (Lutz & Radvansky, 1997)
  • Drawbacks:
    • non-significant findings
    • effects peculiar to passages?
  • Future research:
    • different tasks
    • different passages & goal-types
  • Bigger picture: multidimensional situation models