ERIC Number: ED214216
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Feb
Reference Count: 0
Conversational Processing: The Effects of Themes and Attention-Focusing Strategy on Comprehension, Recall Accuracy, and Uncertainty Reduction.
Housel, Thomas J.
A study examined the effects of conversational themes and attention-focusing strategies on conversational comprehension. The variables in the study were (1) the presentation of ambiguous versus unambiguous themes of conversations, (2) using personal versus content-oriented themes in conversations, and (3) presenting listeners with personal versus content attention-focusing strategies (asking participants to focus on a personality type versus focusing on the content of the message). The subjects were 247 college students who were divided into 16 groups that heard various combinations of the three variables and two stimulus messages. After the subjects received the attention-focusing strategy and theme statement appropriate to their experimental group, they listened to the stimulus conversation and completed recall accuracy and uncertainty reduction tests. The posttests were administered again one week following the experiment. The results demonstrated that unambiguous themes predicted conversational comprehensibility and recall accuracy. Type of theme also had a significant impact on these dependent measures as well as on uncertainty reduction. The results suggested that personal conversational information may be processed differently from content conversational information. (RL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Conversation; Focusing Strategies; Interpersonal Communication; Schemata
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Speech Communication Association (Denver, CO, February 19-23, 1982).