Recent cognitive research has indicated that free-indirect discourse (FID) can promote empathy in readers. We broaden and refine this research by distinguishing between two formal features of FID: (1) its pivot from the third person into the first, and (2) its pivot back out of the first person into the third. We then suggest that a historical survey of literature provides grounds for hypothesizing that the second formal feature of FID might have a very different cognitive effect from empathy: an acceptance of alterity. We provide some supporting evidence for our hypothesis through an original psychology study and conclude by proposing that our identification of a second cognitive effect of FID reveals how scientific reduction might be used to develop multiple, even divergent, models of rhetorical function.


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pp. 82-103
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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