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Empirically testing writer - reader emotional congruence

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Here's an interesting study.

We here have often discussed the craft of writing and our own emotional investment and reactions to what we are writing, as well as how we think this is important for the reader to get an emotional impact from our stories.

Here's somebody putting this to the test:


A Dutch writer will write while all kinds of monitoring equipment is connected to him, including brain functions. Then, once the story is finished, 50 volunteers will read his story with the same equipment connected. The gathered data will be used for research.

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I'm really interested in this.

I've written scenes that I thought were just all right - throwaway lines, here or there - that readers have pointed out as being their favorite lines from a certain chapter. I wonder if the scan would show low activity for the author and high activity for the reader, in that case.

And some of it would depend on the author's writing style - writers who plot everything out in advance, follow outlines, and play scenes over and over in their heads before putting them on paper might show less excitement than those who use a more emergent, improvisational style of writing. And for those who do more than one draft and go through the self-editing process - would they show less intensity on the later drafts, having already been through those scenes?

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