Text Technology: Building Subjective and Shared Experience in Reading

in Journal of Cognition and Culture
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This article presents a case study of a facilitator-lead “shared reading” group with participants suffering from mental health problems. We argue that the text is the most important agent in creating a reading experience which is both subjective and shared. And we point to relatedness as a function of text agency, and to the role of facilitation in creating text-reader relations. The article also presents a new methodological framework combining physiological data of heart rate variability and linguistic, observational and subjective data. By integrating these distinct data points in our analysis we demonstrate the ways in which the text functions as an agent driving processes of individuation and synchronization respectively. On the basis of linguistic analysis of readers’ responses and interactions we point to the cognitive process of mentalization underlying both individual readings and collective meaning making. At the end we discuss the relation of mentalization to diagnosis and argue that “shared reading” may function as an intervention form with a potential for modifying way of thinking; knowing when to read into and when not, and mode of thought; shifting from explanation to experience.

Text Technology: Building Subjective and Shared Experience in Reading

in Journal of Cognition and Culture

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References

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Figures

  • View in gallery
    Panels A–D show the values of self-reported motivation (A), interest (B), experience (C), and relatedness to the text (D) for the four reading group sessions. The bottom panel (E) shows the level of heart-rate synchrony among participants for the four reading group sessions. Heart rate synchrony seems to be closely related to feelings of relatedness, showing an inverse pattern to relatedness across the sessions: The more participants reported feelings of relatedness to the text, the lower the level of heart rate synchrony seemed to be (compare panels D and E).
  • View in gallery
    Panels A and B display the Recurrence Plots (rps) for the reading group’s heart rate for the first 15 minutes during the 2nd session (A) and the 4th session (B) Black structures on the prs indicate periods of high heart-rate synchrony, while white spaces indicate the absence of synchrony. When comparing (A) and (B), one can see that heart rate synchrony seems overall more structured in terms of the different phases of the reading group sessions (e.g., reading, discussion, etc.) during the 2nd session, while heart-rate activity is much more homogenous in the 4th session.

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