ERIC Number: EJ1020869
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 42
Processing and Representation of Arguments in One-Sided Texts about Disputed Topics
Wolfe, Michael B.; Tanner, Shawna M.; Taylor, Andrew R.
Discourse Processes: A Multidisciplinary Journal, v50 n7 p457-497 2013
We examine students' processing and representation of arguments and counterarguments in one-sided scientific texts. In Experiment 1, students read texts about evolution and TV violence. Sentence reading times indicated that subjects slowed down reading to the extent that arguments were both more consistent, and inconsistent, with the text position. We refer to this processing pattern as "argument-focused processing". We also examined whether students hold their beliefs for evidence- or affect-based reasons (belief basis). For the evolution texts, belief basis moderated argument-focused processing. In Experiment 2, subjects read a one-sided text, then a neutral text, and then wrote a summary of the neutral text. Compared to affect-based subjects, evidence-based subjects wrote summaries that were more neutral. Beliefs predicted few differences in processing or representation. We conclude that subjects engage in argument-focused processing when reading one-sided scientific texts. We tentatively conclude that argument-focused processing is moderated by belief basis, but not subject beliefs.
Descriptors: Persuasive Discourse, Language Processing, Scientific Concepts, Student Attitudes, Reading Processes, Evolution, Violence, Television, Discourse Analysis, Psychology, Predictor Variables, Reading Rate, Undergraduate Students, Cues, Recall (Psychology), Beliefs, Controversial Issues (Course Content)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A