ERIC Number: ED362835
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993
Sentence and Discourse Processes in Skilled Comprehension. Resource Publication Series 4 No. 3.
Townsend, David J.
This research disproves the hypothesis that less-skilled comprehenders are less able to take advantage of constraints at all levels of structure. Five studies used self-paced reading, meaning probe judgment, recall, and sentence and word recognition tasks to examine the effect of supportive discourse contexts on sentence processing in skilled and average comprehenders. The results support a model in which comprehenders develop distinct sentence and discourse representations simultaneously, with limited sharing of information and processing resources. The studies suggest three conditions under which discourse information may influence on-line comprehension. To influence discourse integration, comprehenders must have produced a conceptual representation on which discourse processes can operate (the natural unit hypothesis). To influence syntactic processing, comprehenders must assign a sentence representation to the relevant discourse-based prediction (the linguistic prediction hypothesis). To influence discourse processes, the discourse information must be relevant for the emerging discourse representation (the discourse representation hypothesis). These constraints apply equally at different levels of comprehension skill. However, skilled comprehenders focus processing resources more on discourse representations, whereas average comprehenders focus resources more on sentence representations. (Five tables and six figures of data are included; contains 115 references. (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Montclair State Coll., Upper Montclair, NJ. Inst. for Critical Thinking.