Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Cognition; Comprehension


Reprocessing (rereading, reviewing, relistening) is a common strategy used to gain a better understanding of expository text. Past research has suggested that additional processing of a text facilitates understanding of general themes and main ideas, while specific details may be lost. Additional research has proposed that reprocessing facilitates different mental representations of the text differently. It claims that, to the extent that cognitive resources are limited during text processing, the textbase benefits less from reprocessing than the situation model, since the textbase representation is more likely to be completed during the initial processing of the text. This study sought to experimentally support these claims. Three predictions were made. The completion hypothesis predicted general improvement in accuracy with increased text exposure. The ordering hypothesis predicted that, during the initial processing, the textbase should receive more cognitive resources than the situation model, assuming resources are limited. Finally, the completion hypothesis predicted that differences between the textbase and situation model should be larger in situations where resources are more constrained. To test these predictions, participants were presented passages describing simple machines on audio cassettes. Some passages were presented once while others were presented three times. Half of the participants were also given a secondary task to complete in order to limit the amount of cognitive resources available during text processing. After text presentation, participants were asked questions designed to assess the quality of their textbase and situation model representations, with an equal number of questions assessing textbase and situation model information. Additionally, participants were asked to draw the machines described in the passages. The number of parts and their properties reported in the drawings was used to assess the textbase, while the number of inter-part configurations drawn by the participants was used to assess the situation model. Results showed that both true/false and drawing accuracy improved with additional processing trials, F(l, 92) = 53.99. £_< .05; F = (1,92) 27.50, p < .05. No support was found for the ordering hypothesis, while only the drawing data supported the completion hypothesis, t’ (92) = 3.42, g < .05.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [49]-52)


62 pages




Northern Illinois University

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