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ERIC Number: EJ1021445
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0163-853X
Reading Skill Moderates the Impact of Semantic Similarity and Causal Specificity on the Coherence of Explanations
Wittwer, Jörg; Ihme, Natalie
Discourse Processes: A Multidisciplinary Journal, v51 n1-2 p143-166 2014
Prior research has shown that readers are sensitive to causal relations between sentences. In addition, the extent to which readers put weight on causal relations seems to depend on their reading skill. Very little attention, however, has been given to the perception of causal relations linguistically expressed by different types of causal verbs within a sentence. This article reports an experiment that examined the influence of semantic similarity and causal specificity on the perceived comprehensibility and goodness of causal explanations. The results showed that semantic similarity in the form of an overlap of nouns between adjacent sentences exerted more influence on less-skilled readers' perceptions of the comprehensibility of explanations. Conversely, causal specificity in the form of verbs indicating causation with a particular result more strongly impacted more-skilled readers' perceptions of the goodness of explanations. The results suggest that, depending on their reading skill, readers have different standards of coherence that influence their judgments of different aspects of coherence. The findings are discussed in the context of validating the epistemic status of science-related explanations.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Nelson Denny Reading Tests
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A