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Research

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Publication details for Dr Marco Bernini

Alderson-Day, B., Bernini, M. & Fernyhough, C. (2017). Uncharted features and dynamics of reading: Voices, characters, and crossing of experiences. Consciousness and Cognition 49: 98-109.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Readers often describe vivid experiences of voices and characters in a manner that has been likened to hallucination. Little is known, however, of how common such experiences are, nor the individual differences they may reflect. Here we present the results of a 2014 survey conducted in collaboration with a national UK newspaper and an international book festival. Participants (n=1566) completed measures of reading imagery, inner speech, and hallucination-proneness, including 413 participants who provided detailed free-text descriptions of their reading experiences. Hierarchical regression analysis indicated that reading imagery was related to phenomenological characteristics of inner speech and proneness to hallucination-like experiences. However, qualitative analysis of reader’s accounts suggested that vivid reading experiences were marked not just by auditory phenomenology, but also their tendency to cross over into non-reading contexts. This supports social-cognitive accounts of reading while highlighting a role for involuntary and uncontrolled personality models in the experience of fictional characters.