Words from the wizarding world: fictional words, context, and domain knowledge

Ingram, J. and Hand, C. J. (2020) Words from the wizarding world: fictional words, context, and domain knowledge. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 46(11), pp. 2179-2192. (doi: 10.1037/xlm0000946) (PMID:32757581)

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The influence of domain knowledge on reading behavior has received limited investigation compared to the influence of, for example, context and/or word frequency. The current study tested participants with and without domain knowledge of the Harry Potter (HP) universe. Fans and non-fans read sentences containing HP, high-frequency (HF), or low-frequency target-words. Targets were presented in contexts that were supportive or unsupportive within a 2 (group: fans, non-fans) × 3 (context: HP, HF, LF) × 3 (word type: HP, HF, LF) mixed design. Thirty-two fans and 22 non-fans read 72 two-sentence experimental items while eye-movement behavior was recorded: Initial sentences established context; second sentences contained target-words. Fans processed HP words faster than non-fans. No group difference was observed on HF or LF processing durations, suggesting equivalent reading capabilities. In HP contexts, HP and LF targets were processed equivalently. Processing of HF and LF words was facilitated by their supportive context as expected. Non-fans made more regressions into the target region in HP contexts and regressed more into HP targets than other targets; fans regressed into target word regions equivalently across all context and word types. Results suggest that domain knowledge influences early but not immediate lexical access, while the processing effect of novelty was seen in regressive eye movements. These results are more supportive of modular accounts of linguistic processing and serial models of eye movement control. Words without grounding in reality, or true embodiment, were integrated into fans’ mental lexicons.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hand, Dr Christopher
Authors: Ingram, J., and Hand, C. J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Journal Name:Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN (Online):1939-1285
Published Online:06 August 2020

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