Words from the wizarding world: reading fictional words in supportive and non-supportive contexts

Joanne Ingram*, Christopher James Hand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePresentation

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This study examined the reading of fictional words from the Harry Potter (HP) series of books and moves to establish if, when presented in a supporting context, participants familiar with HP read these words in a similar manner to standard words. Words from this series, representing concepts that do not exist outside related publications (e.g., muggle), were presented to readers in addition to high and low frequency words, in supportive or non-supportive contexts. Participants' eye movements were recorded as they read two sentence passages: the initial sentence contained contextual information; the second sentence contained the target word. Words from HP could either be familiar or novel to participants dependent on their level of engagement with the HP series. Results showed significant typical main effects of frequency. High frequency words were processed faster than low frequency words. Processing of HP words was facilitated by a supportive context for those who had engaged with the series. Results suggests that those familiar with HP have integrated these words into their lexicon to the extent that they are read as easily as low frequency words when supported by context. Future investigation of words from fiction may wish to examine familiarity in addition to frequency.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2017
Event19th European Conference on Eye Movements - Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany
Duration: 20 Aug 201724 Aug 2017


Conference19th European Conference on Eye Movements
Abbreviated titleECEM 2017
Internet address

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