NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1057431
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Sep
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 52
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Changes in Situation Models Modulate Processes of Event Perception in Audiovisual Narratives
Huff, Markus; Meitz, Tino G. K.; Papenmeier, Frank
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v40 n5 p1377-1388 Sep 2014
Humans understand text and film by mentally representing their contents in situation models. These describe situations using dimensions like time, location, protagonist, and action. Changes in 1 or more dimensions (e.g., a new character enters the scene) cause discontinuities in the story line and are often perceived as boundaries between 2 meaningful units. Recent theoretical advances in event perception led to the assumption that situation models are represented in the form of event models in working memory. These event models are updated at event boundaries. Points in time at which event models are updated are important: Compared with situations during an ongoing event, situations at event boundaries are remembered more precisely and predictions about what happens next become less reliable. We hypothesized that these effects depend on the number of changes in the situation model. In 2 experiments, we had participants watch sitcom episodes and measured recognition memory and prediction performance for event boundaries that contained a change in 1, 2, 3, or 4 dimensions. Results showed a linear relationship: the more dimensions changed, the higher recognition performance was. At the same time, participants' predictions became less reliable with an increasing number of dimension changes. These results suggest that updating of event models at event boundaries occurs incrementally.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
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 - Location: Germany