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10 Achievements of the Year

Cognitive mechanisms in reading ancient Chinese poetry: evidence from eye movements

chen_qing_rong_.pngAuthor: Qingrong Chen
Organization: School of Psychology
The form of the achievement: paper
Introduction: The paper entitled “The cognitive mechanism of the reading of ancient Chinese poems: Evidence from eye movements” was published in the journal China Social Sciences. This paper uses eye-tracking technology to explore the “genes” of traditional Chinese culture by investigating the cognitive mechanism underlying the understanding of rhyme and poetic character in the reading of ancient Chinese poems.
Findings showed that the effect of rhyme is felt throughout the reading. In other words, at the early stage the expectation of rhyme regulates the poem’s rhymes and in the latter stage it constrains the understanding of the poem’s semantics. This means that in such reading, the Chinese expect a language with harmonious tone patterns and consonance of form and meaning. This is China’s unique collective unconscious cultural inheritance phenomena. Research along these lines can provide an initial approach to the exploration of discourse processing mechanisms in the context of traditional Chinese culture.
For the first time, this study scientifically proposed the theory mechanism of the rhyme effect in ancient poems reading on the level of prosody generation and poetic understanding. Besides, it provides preliminary scientific evidence and theoretical construction for the explanation of the relationship between the poems-based “genes” of traditional Chinese culture and the Chinese people’s reading expectation of level and oblique tones, antithesis, rhyme in reading/writing. This achievement has a great influence in academic circles, among which Guangming Daily pointed out that the findings and the scientific and technological means used to explore the “genes” of traditional Chinese culture are of great significance. Social Sciences in China also commented that this study is a preliminary response to the scientific research of traditional Chinese culture, an important proposition of the time. This research is supported by the 973 project and the National Natural Science Foundation.