ERIC Number: ED329914
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
The Influence of Readers' Prior Knowledge and Level of Involvement on Interpreting Ambiguous Text.
Henk, William A.; And Others
A study investigated the role of prior knowledge in ambiguous text interpretation by directly measuring readers' knowledge of, and level of involvement with, three distinct topical domains that could be assigned during reading of an ambiguous passage. Subjects, 52 athletes of average or above average reading ability competing in one of three interscholastic spring sports (tennis, golf, or softball/baseball) for one small rural and one large suburban Illinois high school, read an ambiguous passage that could be taken to be about any of the three sports, free-wrote about the passage, and answered a series of multiple-choice questions which included five randomly ordered choices representing aspects of either tennis, baseball, or golf. The investigation offered some interesting insights, for example: (1) evidence for a prior knowledge effect due to group membership was observed especially in the case of baseball players; (2) the golfers and tennis players, despite direct participation, demonstrated somewhat less domain knowledge of their respective sports than they did of baseball; (3) and across subjects, high positive relationships were observed between each sport's respective prior knowledge and level of involvement scores. Findings suggest that the conclusions of earlier ambiguity studies should probably be reconsidered in light of the complex interrelationships that appear to exist between prior knowledge and level of involvement variables. (One table of data is included; 12 references are attached.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Illinois; Text Factors
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Reading Conference (40th, Miami, FL, November 27-December 1, 1990).