Master of Arts (M.A.)
Literary theorists have pointed to a relationship between writer-reader personality similarity and better outcomes in the reader. Furthermore, there is empirical evidence indicating that personality similarity between two individuals leads to positive outcomes. We tested the hypothesis that personality similarity between writers and readers predicts greater inspiration in the reader. Our results supported this hypothesis. Profile similarity (i.e., similarity of Big Five trait profile) between writers and readers predicted greater reader inspiration. Single-trait similarity (i.e., similarity of single Big Five traits) between writers and readers predicted greater reader inspiration. These findings are noteworthy because we show that the scientific method can be leveraged to test the verisimilitude of a literary theory, which has not been possible using the current methods of literary criticism.
© The Author
Belzak, William Charles McNeal, "Literary Theory within a Cross-Classified Multilevel Framework: Personality Similarity between Writers and Readers Predicts Reader Inspiration" (2017). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. William & Mary. Paper 1516639571.