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Text Technology: Building Subjective and Shared Experience in Reading

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This article presents a case study of a facilitator-lead “shared reading” group with participants suffering from mental health problems. We argue that the text is the most important agent in creating a reading experience which is both subjective and shared. And we point to relatedness as a function of text agency, and to the role of facilitation in creating text-reader relations. The article also presents a new methodological framework combining physiological data of heart rate variability and linguistic, observational and subjective data. By integrating these distinct data points in our analysis we demonstrate the ways in which the text functions as an agent driving processes of individuation and synchronization respectively. On the basis of linguistic analysis of readers’ responses and interactions we point to the cognitive process of mentalization underlying both individual readings and collective meaning making. At the end we discuss the relation of mentalization to diagnosis and argue that “shared reading” may function as an intervention form with a potential for modifying way of thinking; knowing when to read into and when not, and mode of thought; shifting from explanation to experience.

Affiliations: 1: Interacting Minds Centre, Department for Culture and Society, Aarhus UniversityDK-8000 Aarhus CDenmark


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