The Influence of Direct and Indirect Speech on Mental Representations

Anita Eerland*, Jan A. A. Engelen, Rolf A. Zwaan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Language can be viewed as a set of cues that modulate the comprehender's thought processes. It is a very subtle instrument. For example, the literature suggests that people perceive direct speech (e.g., Joanne said: 'I went out for dinner last night') as more vivid and perceptually engaging than indirect speech (e.g., Joanne said that she went out for dinner last night). But how is this alleged vividness evident in comprehenders' mental representations? We sought to address this question in a series of experiments. Our results do not support the idea that, compared to indirect speech, direct speech enhances the accessibility of information from the communicative or the referential situation during comprehension. Neither do our results support the idea that the hypothesized more vivid experience of direct speech is caused by a switch from the visual to the auditory modality. However, our results do show that direct speech leads to a stronger mental representation of the exact wording of a sentence than does indirect speech. These results show that language has a more subtle influence on memory representations than was previously suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Article number65480
Number of pages9
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • VOICE-SELECTIVE AREAS
  • SITUATION MODELS
  • NARRATIVE COMPREHENSION
  • TEXT COMPREHENSION
  • VERB ASPECT
  • QUOTATIONS
  • MEMORY
  • ACCESSIBILITY
  • INFERENCES
  • ACTIVATION

Cite this

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title = "The Influence of Direct and Indirect Speech on Mental Representations",
abstract = "Language can be viewed as a set of cues that modulate the comprehender's thought processes. It is a very subtle instrument. For example, the literature suggests that people perceive direct speech (e.g., Joanne said: 'I went out for dinner last night') as more vivid and perceptually engaging than indirect speech (e.g., Joanne said that she went out for dinner last night). But how is this alleged vividness evident in comprehenders' mental representations? We sought to address this question in a series of experiments. Our results do not support the idea that, compared to indirect speech, direct speech enhances the accessibility of information from the communicative or the referential situation during comprehension. Neither do our results support the idea that the hypothesized more vivid experience of direct speech is caused by a switch from the visual to the auditory modality. However, our results do show that direct speech leads to a stronger mental representation of the exact wording of a sentence than does indirect speech. These results show that language has a more subtle influence on memory representations than was previously suggested.",
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The Influence of Direct and Indirect Speech on Mental Representations. / Eerland, Anita; Engelen, Jan A. A.; Zwaan, Rolf A.

In: PLoS ONE, Vol. 8, No. 6, 65480, 12.06.2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AU - Engelen, Jan A. A.

AU - Zwaan, Rolf A.

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N2 - Language can be viewed as a set of cues that modulate the comprehender's thought processes. It is a very subtle instrument. For example, the literature suggests that people perceive direct speech (e.g., Joanne said: 'I went out for dinner last night') as more vivid and perceptually engaging than indirect speech (e.g., Joanne said that she went out for dinner last night). But how is this alleged vividness evident in comprehenders' mental representations? We sought to address this question in a series of experiments. Our results do not support the idea that, compared to indirect speech, direct speech enhances the accessibility of information from the communicative or the referential situation during comprehension. Neither do our results support the idea that the hypothesized more vivid experience of direct speech is caused by a switch from the visual to the auditory modality. However, our results do show that direct speech leads to a stronger mental representation of the exact wording of a sentence than does indirect speech. These results show that language has a more subtle influence on memory representations than was previously suggested.

AB - Language can be viewed as a set of cues that modulate the comprehender's thought processes. It is a very subtle instrument. For example, the literature suggests that people perceive direct speech (e.g., Joanne said: 'I went out for dinner last night') as more vivid and perceptually engaging than indirect speech (e.g., Joanne said that she went out for dinner last night). But how is this alleged vividness evident in comprehenders' mental representations? We sought to address this question in a series of experiments. Our results do not support the idea that, compared to indirect speech, direct speech enhances the accessibility of information from the communicative or the referential situation during comprehension. Neither do our results support the idea that the hypothesized more vivid experience of direct speech is caused by a switch from the visual to the auditory modality. However, our results do show that direct speech leads to a stronger mental representation of the exact wording of a sentence than does indirect speech. These results show that language has a more subtle influence on memory representations than was previously suggested.

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KW - VERB ASPECT

KW - QUOTATIONS

KW - MEMORY

KW - ACCESSIBILITY

KW - INFERENCES

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