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Interpretation and recognition for words in a short story (IRWSS)

Authors Danilo Garcia
Published in PsycTESTS
Publisher American Psychological Association
Publication year 2009
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Keywords Interpretation; Memory; Valence
Subject categories Psychology


This instrument was constructed to monitor individual differences regarding interpretation of events and differences in recognition for those events. The instrument consists of a short story (a synopsis of The Alchemist; Coelho, 2002), a rating list of 48 words (highlighted in bold type in the story; real words) and a recognition list that include the 48 real words and 21 words not presented in the short story (false words). The 48 real words are 24 nouns and 24 adjectives equally distributed among three types: positive (e.g., friends, interesting), neutral (e.g., hands, large), and negative (e.g., thief, anxious). In an attempt to avoid a recency and/or a primacy effect favoring any of the three types of words; the structure of the story is as follows. First, the short story is divided in 10 paragraphs with about the same amount of words. Second, paragraph 2 – 9 contain 6 words in bold type each, in random order (2 positive, 2 neutral and 2 negative. 1 noun and 1 adjective for each type). Third, paragraph 1 and 10 was left without words in bold type in an attempt to make participants to notice the highlighted words enough to capture their attention without asking them to try to remember them. One advantage of the measure is that words can be included or excluded in order to meet the research questions. A positive condition can be achieved if participants receive a version with only positive words being highlighted, while a negative condition can be achieved if participants receive a version with only negative words being highlighted. Furthermore, the rating list can be distributed before or after the story. Likewise, the recognition list can be distributed shortly after the story or even days after the story. Both lists can also be combined to ask participants simultaneously to rate the words and to report recognition of the words.

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