Of all literary forms, poetry is the one with the longest history and widest circulation. Ancient Chinese poetry has become one of the most basic cultural “genes” of the Chinese. Based on the typical characteristics of Chinese ancient poetry, associate prof. Chen Qingrong used 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. Research along these lines can provide an initial approach to the exploration of discourse processing mechanisms in the context of traditional Chinese culture.
The results of the study were published in 2017 the third issue of Social Sciences in China in the form of long experimental report (with 29 pages). Associate Professor Chen Qingrong is the first author of the paper. At the same time, Professor Yang Yiming (Professor of Changjiang Scholar, professor of the School of Language Science and Art, Jiangsu Normal University, professor of the Synergy Innovation Center of Language Proficiency in Universities of Jiangsu, College postdoctoral tutor of Nanjing Normal University) is also the author of this article. This research is supported by the 973 project and the National Natural Science Foundation.
In summary, the study of the cognitive mechanism of ancient poetry is a preliminary exploration of the discourse processing mechanism in the context of traditional Chinese culture, which belongs to the part of the "genes" research project of traditional culture. Based on cross-sectional and longitudinal research paradigm, associate Professor Chen Qingrong and his team are now still using eye tracking, neural electrophysiology, and functional magnetic resonance imaging technology to carry out systematic in-depth scientific research on the “genes” of traditional Chinese culture among Chinese adults and children.