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When Comprehension Difficulty Improves Memory for Text

When Comprehension Difficulty Improves Memory for Text In a series of two experiments, subjects read passages that contained a target word that was either predictable or unpredictable from a preceding context. Experiment 1 demonstrated that, by using reading times, subjects took longer to comprehend a line of text when it contained an unpredictable target word, but this increased processing time facilitated recognition of the unpredictable word. In Experiment 2, subjects showed better recall for passages that contained an unpredictable word. More important, this difference in recall was only for information that preceded the unpredictable word. We proposed that when readers encounter concepts that are difficult to integrate, they will reprocess earlier portions of a text in an attempt to integrate the unexpected concept with the text. If successful, this reprocessing will improve memory for selected portions of a text. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition American Psychological Association

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References (29)

Publisher
American Psychological Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1985 American Psychological Association
ISSN
0278-7393
eISSN
1939-1285
DOI
10.1037/0278-7393.11.1.12
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In a series of two experiments, subjects read passages that contained a target word that was either predictable or unpredictable from a preceding context. Experiment 1 demonstrated that, by using reading times, subjects took longer to comprehend a line of text when it contained an unpredictable target word, but this increased processing time facilitated recognition of the unpredictable word. In Experiment 2, subjects showed better recall for passages that contained an unpredictable word. More important, this difference in recall was only for information that preceded the unpredictable word. We proposed that when readers encounter concepts that are difficult to integrate, they will reprocess earlier portions of a text in an attempt to integrate the unexpected concept with the text. If successful, this reprocessing will improve memory for selected portions of a text.

Journal

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and CognitionAmerican Psychological Association

Published: Jan 1, 1985

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