Sci-Fi makes you read stupid.

Sci-Fi makes you read stupid.

Postby Brian Peacock » Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:07 pm

Science fiction triggers 'poorer reading', study finds

It might feature such thought-stretching concepts as time travel and warp drives, but reading science fiction actually makes you read more “stupidly”, according to new research.

In a paper published in the journal Scientific Study of Literature, Washington and Lee University professors Chris Gavaler and Dan Johnson set out to measure how identifying a text as science fiction makes readers automatically assume it is less worthwhile, in a literary sense, and thus devote less effort to reading it. They were prompted to do their experiment by a 2013 study which found that literary fiction made readers more empathetic than genre fiction.

Their study, detailed in the paper The Genre Effect, saw the academics work with around 150 participants who were given a text of 1,000 words to read. In each version of the text, a character enters a public eating area and interacts with the people there, after his negative opinion of the community has been made public. In the “literary” version of the text, the character enters a diner after his letter to the editor has been published in the town newspaper. In the science fiction version, he enters a galley in a space station inhabited by aliens and androids as well as humans.

After they read the text, participants were asked how much they agreed with statements such as “I felt like I could put myself in the shoes of the character in the story”, and how much effort they spent trying to work out what characters were feeling.

Gavaler and Johnson write that the texts are identical apart from “setting-creating” words such as “door” and “airlock”: they say this should have meant that readers were equally good at inferring the feelings of characters, an ability known as theory of mind....


https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/ ... tudy-finds


Derp!
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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT


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Re: Sci-Fi makes you read stupid.

Postby JimC » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:10 pm

Reading science fiction made me the man I am today! :lay:
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Re: Sci-Fi makes you read stupid.

Postby tattuchu » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:14 pm

Dafuq? :what:
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Re: Sci-Fi makes you read stupid.

Postby Rum » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:42 pm

I started to read science fiction cos my dad turned me on to it when I was about 8 years old. By 10 I was reading Asimov, Heinlein, Bloc and the rest of them. It wasn't always amazing prose, though occasionally it was (Ballard for example), but it got me reading like crazy - a life long habit. At first I was more interested in the flight of ideas I will grant you, but characters and human responses soon interested me and when science fiction didn't deliver that need I moved on. It was a gateway and one I am grateful for.

The article is bunk.
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Re: Sci-Fi makes you read stupid.

Postby Brian Peacock » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:41 pm

Rum wrote:...

The article is bunk.

Indeed.

Science Fiction has often suffered from the snobbish assumption from the literatti that it isn't 'proper' literature, until someone with 'proper' literary credential has a stab at it of course - and in so doing they generally give the form a bad name anyway.

The article is bunk.
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"It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice.
There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia."

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"This is how humanity ends; bickering over the irrelevant."
Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT


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Re: Sci-Fi makes you read stupid.

Postby L'Emmerdeur » Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:45 pm

Rum wrote:...

The article is bunk.

Brian Peacock wrote:...

The article is bunk.


I disagree with your evaluations. The article is not disparaging science fiction. Instead it is highlighting a long-standing and widely acknowledged prejudice against science fiction, which Brian Peacock referenced. While 'Golden Age' science fiction could be described as often lacking in depth of character development, for instance, the genre has grown considerably in that regard. The title of the article is misleading, as titles in the popular press often are. It should read "Science fiction triggers 'poorer reading' in those who have a prejudiced opinion of the genre, study finds."

The actual finding of the study is described later in the article.

“[F]or those who are biased against SF, thinking of it as an inferior genre of fiction, they assume the story will be less worthwhile, one that doesn’t require or reward careful reading, and so they read less attentively. This then lowers their scores on objective comprehension tests because they miss so much. Interestingly, they don’t even realise it, because they still report that the story required less effort to understand. It’s a self-fulfilling bias – except we can now show objectively that the weakness is with the reader, not the story itself,” said Gavaler.

“So when readers who are biased against SF read the word ‘airlock’, their negative assumptions kick in – ‘Oh, it’s that kind of story’ – and they begin reading poorly. So, no, SF doesn’t really make you stupid. It’s more that if you’re stupid enough to be biased against SF you will read SF stupidly.”
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Re: Sci-Fi makes you read stupid.

Postby Animavore » Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:52 pm

Sci-fi makes you read, stupid.
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Re: Sci-Fi makes you read stupid.

Postby Rum » Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:55 pm

Animavore wrote:Sci-fi makes you read, stupid.


Which a great deal of recent research (it was my job to know this..) shows is the best predictor a academic achievement later on. It doesn't seem to matter what one reads either.
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Re: Sci-Fi makes you read stupid.

Postby Animavore » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:07 am

All said and done, I haven't read a sci-fi book in ages, and fiction in general is a chore. I find books on real science like, Sapiens, From Eternity to Here, Why Does E=MC2, and The Fabric of the Cosmos to be infinitely more mind-bending than any Isaac Azimov, Iain M Banks, or Arthur C. Clarke, so I'd say it's a thing that sci-fi is good for exciting young brains and getting them thinking about ideas for when you get older and actually start reading science.
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