ERIC Number: ED245210
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-May
Reference Count: 0
On-line Processing of Text Organization.
Lorch, Robert F., Jr.; Lorch, Elizabeth Pugzles
A study was conducted to determine how a reader identifies and represents the major topics in a text and their interrelationships. Subjects, 56 college students, read two texts one sentence at a time. Each text contained 12 paragraphs that discussed six attributes of two major topics. The paragraphs on one text were organized by attribute, while the topics of the other text were randomly organized. Reading times were recorded for the initial, topic-introducing sentences of each paragraph, and for matched, nontopic sentences. Results showed that reading times for topic sentences depended upon text organization, while reading times for nontopic sentences did not, and that topic sentences were read faster if the new topic was predictable as opposed to unpredictable from the preceding text topics. The findings suggest that when readers encounter a new text topic, they integrate it into a representation of the topic structure of the text. (Author/FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Text Structure; Topic Sentences
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association (Chicago, IL, May 3-5, 1984).