The investigation of group characteristics of attributing intention through the narration of historical events  

Ferenczhalmy R., László J.
First author's affiliation: Institute of Psychology, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary

In a broader sense, the concept of intentionality comprises assigning intentions and mental states to others. In our study we focus on one aspect of attributing intentions, namely, the identification of intention in texts. Our approach is based on Brunner’s distinction between the descriptive and the psychological levels of narration. On the psychological level the interpretation and evaluation appear beyond the pure description of events. In our research we investigate what intentions the narrator assigns to specific agents in the text. We also focus on the interpretation of opportunity and compulsion in the text. Our research group works with the NOOJ language technological tool. We compose dictionaries relevant to the concept of intentionality, and with the help of local grammars this program enables us to do analyses on textual and morpho-syntactic levels. In our research we aimed to analyse the narratives of 10 historical events that bear great significance for the Hungarian national identity. We worked with two corpora: history textbooks used in current Hungarian elementary and secondary schools, and folk historical corpus which incorporates the texts of a representative sample taken from 500 individuals. We regarded these texts as important social representations of national identity. Our main focus was the comparison between the assigned intention to the in- or the outgroup in the description of positive and negative events. According to our hypothesis, in the formation of a positive identity intention will be assigned to the ingroup in the description of positive events, whereas in the description of negative events it will be assigned to the outgroup. We further hypothesize that with the positive events it will be mainly the opportunities, while with the negative events it will be mainly the compulsions that characterize the ingroup. Our results are in concordance with our hypotheses, according to which the representation of national identity can be interpreted in terms of control, responsibility, and agency.