Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Simon, Seymore

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Memory; Prose literature--Psychological aspects


The present study investigated the effect of questions on the retention of expository prose. The purpose v/as to determine whether questions facilitated recall to a greater extent than statements, undirected review, or no additional exposure. Level of proposition (high vs. low) and number of arguments (few vs. many) were additional independent variables. Eight propositionalized paragraphs were presented to subjects and free recall was obtained after a 48-hr delay. Results indicated that subjects correctly answered only 64% of the initial questions, and that low level questions were answered correctly more often than high level questions. Findings from the delayed free recall protocols showed that, in general, high level propositions were recalled better than low level propositions. The level of the questioned material, however, did not influence recall. Questions facilitated the recall of previously questioned material, but appeared to interfere with the recall of previously unquestioned material. The findings replicate previous research reporting a direct effect of questioning and provide additional evidence for the differential recall of high and low level propositions. Suggestions for future research include (a) required reporting of initial question data to assess informational comparability between question and statement groups, and (b) continued use of text structure in questioning research to fully understand how importance of material affects recall.


Bibliography: pages [74]-79.


122 pages




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