Mindreading in Literature, Reading and Culture

The aim of the project is to explore more closely the impact of literature, especially diverse narrative styles, on human mindreading abilities in the context of variously currently discussed theories of mindreading. Connections between literature and mindreading are now being investigated within various disciplines. However, there are many areas that have not yet been properly examined. These include (1) the impact of the techniques for representing mental states in narrative literature (fiction) representing realist, modernist and postmodern conventions on the reader’s mindreading competence (2) the impact of all kinds of literary and artistic techniques used in narrative literature (fiction) on the reader’s mindreading competence viewed in the light of various theories of mindreading. We take up these issues in our research.

In our research we also attempt to show how culture-specific factors dominant in a given social group influence and model evaluation of literary characters. Special attention in our studies is paid to the character’s attitude towards challenges he faces, his decisions, his personality traits, his mental states (beliefs, desires and thoughts) as well as folk psychology which guide him in his life. The profile of our research project fits into contemporary investigations of how culturally defined thinking can shape reading and understanding of literary works in terms of both evaluation of literary characters, comprehension of plot, and perception of time implied in the work.

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prof. Joanna K. Teske
The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

prof. Him Cheung
Faculty of Education and Human Development,
The Education University of Hong Kong

prof. Zhao Gang
School of European Languages and Cultures, Beijing Foreign Studies University, China

Andrzej Ruszer
School of European Languages and Cultures, Beijing Foreign Studies University, China



  1. Teske Joanna K.Gut Arkadiusz, (2021); The reader’s mindreading of realist, modernist, and postmodern fiction : a comparative study. Narrative; Vol. 29 no. 1, p. 47-70;
  2. Teske Joanna K.Gut Arkadiusz (2021); Social understanding in fictional contexts and the question of error detection. Avant : pismo awangardy filozoficzno-naukowej; Vol. 12 no. 1, s. 1-26;
  3. Gut Arkadiusz, Afek Joanna, Kołodziej Beata, (2020), Chinese mothers’ reflections on value systems and social norms enacted in fairy tales : a cultural narrative analysis. Roczniki Humanistyczne, T. 68 z. 9; 2020; pp. 157-183,
  4. Gut A. Zhao Gang, Ruszer A. (2018), Cultural Readings of Literature: Social Parameters in Evaluation of Literary Characters (the Case of Wokulski) /Kulturowe Czytanie Literatury Społeczne Parametry Ewaluacji Bohatera Literackiego (przypadekWokulskiego)/ in: Annals of Arts (Roczniki Humansityczne);Tom LXVI, 9 – 2018; DOI: pp. 161-195.
  5. Gut A., (2018), Kulturowe uwarunkowania odbioru dzieła literackiego – przegląd współczesnych badań (Cultural conditions for the reception of a literary work. A review of contemporary research) at: Spotkania Polonistyk Trzech Krajów: Chiny-Korea, Japonia- Rocznik 2018/2019, red. Yongdeog Kim, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, pp. 147-162