Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Schwantes, Frederick M.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Reading; Psychology of; Word recognition; Memory


One major purpose of the present study was to examine contextual factors that affect speed of recognizing words encountered following reading of a complete sentence. A second major purpose of the present study was to investigate the notion of developmental differences in using inferences derived from contextual information to aid word recognition speed and sentence recall. Third-grade, sixth-grade, and col lege-level students participated in an on-line reading task that incorporated both a naming latency and cued-recall task carried out under four sentence-target pairing conditions (repeated, inferred, associated, unrelated). The major findings indicated developmental differences in the degree to which reading of a complete sentence facilitated subsequent target word recognition. Specifically, repeated targets (repetitions of the last word in the previously read sentence) were read significantly faster than associated targets (associates of the last word in the previously read sentence) and inferred targets (words whose meanings were inferable from the meaning of the previously read sentence) by third graders but not by adults. Furthermore, associated and inferred targets were read significantly faster than unrelated targets (words that were unrelated to the previously read sentence) and this difference was greater for third graders than adults. These results were interpreted in terms of developmental differences in automatic context effects and semantic integration effects. No developmental differences between conditions were obtained for the memory portion of the study. The percentage of correctly recalled sentences in the repeated and inferred conditions was greater than the percentage of sentences correctly recalled in the associated and unrelated conditions across grades.


Includes bibliographies.


115 pages




Northern Illinois University

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