Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Reading Research Results - concluded

I asked you all if you thought that one's affinity for reading would affect one's susceptibility to the experience of reading fiction.
62% of you said that you thought so
37% of you said that you did not
and since only 8 of you voted, don't take those percentages too seriously.

I discovered when I looked at how your 88 scores on the reading susceptibility test differed as a function of your "reading affinity score" that there was a big difference (F = 3.0, p < .005) but not across the board. Susceptibility increased sharply for those the lowest reading affinities (1-3) - a 3-fold increase. Those with affinity scores from 4-9 more or less leveled off, with a slight dip around a rating of 7. Remember, I defined reading affinity as a combination of how much people read, whether they identified as "readers" or "a book person," whether they belonged to a book club, and so on. I combined scores from many of what I called "reading identification questions." So it did matter if you had a lower affinity, but once you identified more strongly with reading, it didn't matter how strongly.

Cam had an interesting question as to whether reading responsiveness varied as a function of one's area of study in school. As I didn't ask about that specifically I'm not able to analyze it, but I did look at responsiveness as a function of level of education and I found that it did not matter in any significant way.

I also looked at level of religiousness, offering categories from atheist - orthodox. I was interested to find that the participants had a very equal distribution through those categories with a lower representation only in the "orthodox" category. For example, as many people identified themselves as "serious practicing" as they did "skeptical." There was absolutely no meaningful difference between any of these categories as to how susceptible or responsive to reading you are.

I was interested to find that something we think of as being transported either away from the place we're in or to another place as a result of reading was indeed a common occurrence among you, but with a wide variety of intensities reported. Whereas the sense of being transported to another time, or losing one's sense of time was experienced by everyone, with you reporting more than 3:1 that you experience this strongly. This could just be an effect of the way I asked the question. Other commonly reported experiences among you were wishing to alter the action of the story or a character in it, and having your heart rate sped up by something you were reading.

I really enjoyed looking at some of these patterns among the reading behavior of our select group and I appreciate your help with it. As I develop the reading research further, I may prevail upon your good will again. Hope you found it interesting.

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