We compared the instructional efficacy of a narrative text (i.e., a story) and an expository text (i.e., a textbook excerpt). Students enrolled in Abnormal Psychology classes read about the disorder, dissociative fugue from a story, a textbook, or both. The story contained literary elements that increased transportation into the story world. We predicted that this would facilitate memory encoding and improve subsequent test performance. Students who read the story achieved higher quiz scores and evidenced greater free recall about the disorder than those who read the textbook. They also reported greater transportation into the discourse. The combined reading conditions were more efficacious than either alone. The advantage of having read the story was evident up to 3 weeks later when students were retested. Our results suggest that, across text genre, the experience of being transported into discourse accounts for greater test performance over time.
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Janit, Adrian; Hammock, Georgina; and Richardson, Deborah
"The Power of Fiction: Reading Stories in Abnormal Psychology,"
International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning:
1, Article 16.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.20429/ijsotl.2011.050116