Gestalt Qualities in Poetry and the Reader's Absorption Style

Reuven Tsur, Joseph Glicksohn, Chanita Goodblatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We report an empirical investigation of the perceived effects of poetry. The relationship between rhyme pattern and Gestalt qualities was investigated by manipulating the rhyme scheme of a four-line stanza. We assumed that the perceived effects of poetry are a function of the degree of perceptual organization that is inherent in, or can be realized in, the poetic text. Furthermore, to be receptive to such effects demands an experiential set on the part of the reader, which may be predicted from the reader's rating on the Absorption Scale. Our results indicate that high-absorption and low-absorption readers differ in their perception and evaluation of the texts. In particular, what the low-absorption readers judge to be good closure, the high-absorption readers judge to be 'open'. The implications of this and the other results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-500
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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