Textual and extra-textual manipulations in the empirical study of literary response

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Experimental manipulation is the best approach to a deep causal insight into literary response, and without it, firm conclusions are difficult. Here, we discuss two broad classes of experimental techniques. Textual manipulation involves exposing readers to different versions of a text that have been systematically varied by the experimenter and is ideally suited to studying the effects of textual features. Extra-textual manipulation involves presenting adjunct or surrounding material to the reader without changing the text per se and can provide insight into the role of the reading context and textual features under some circumstances. Examples of recent research will be scrutinized in light of this analysis.


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