Factors affecting the recreation of a story from a text: A cross-cultural experiment

Mia Stokmans, Abder el Aissati

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


In this research, we regard a text as a written expression about an extraordinary
experience in which the socio-economic, cultural and historical background of an
author affects the way this experience is translated into a text that tells the story. From this perspective, the task of a reader is to recreate the story embedded in a written text. A central question that pops up is to what extent a (mis)match between the background of a story and a reader affects the recreation process. This question can be framed within information processing theories that indicate that a recreation process is affected by motivation and ability to read this text. Furthermore, a mismatch affects the ability (conceptualized within schema theory) to recreate a story negatively.
In order to investigate this thesis, we conducted a cross-cultural study (Netherlands, Russia, Morocco) in which each student read one of three short real texts (random assignment) concerning a World War II story situated in the following geographic areas: The Netherlands, Russia and Morocco. Afterwards they filled in a reading comprehension test and a questionnaire about reading motivation, and ability to recreate the story.
The results indicate that reading motivation affects reading comprehension
positively. Reading ability (formal schema and content schema) affects comprehension in a complex way: some aspects affect basic levels of comprehension while others affect advanced levels of comprehension. Furthermore, the results reveal a consistent interaction effect between text and geographic area of a respondent. However, no evidence is found for the hypothesis that a match between background of a story and a reader results in higher comprehension scores.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArtikelen van de 8e Anela conferentie Toegepaste Taalwetenschappen 2015
EditorsMarianne Boogaard, Beppie van den Bogaerde, Sylvia Bacchini, Maja Curcic, Nivja de Jong, Emanuelle le Pichon, Laurent Rasier
Place of PublicationDelft
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9789059729964
Publication statusPublished - May 2015
Event8e Anéla conferentie - Hotel Zuiderduin, Egmond aan Zee, Netherlands
Duration: 22 May 201523 May 2015


Conference8e Anéla conferentie
CityEgmond aan Zee


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