Accession Number : ADA115214

Title :   Effect of the Interaction of Text Structure, Background Knowledge and Purpose on Attention to Text.

Descriptive Note : Final rept.,

Corporate Author : HUMAN ENGINEERING LAB ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND MD

Personal Author(s) : Birkmire,Deborah P

PDF Url : ADA115214

Report Date : Apr 1982

Pagination or Media Count : 165

Abstract : Memory for discourse is generally an incomplete and modified version of the original text. This partial text recall has been related to structure or organization of information in text, reader's background knowledge, and reader's purpose or goal for reading a particular text. The interaction of these variables with each other and their effect on the encoding of and memory for text information was investigated. A selective attention hypothesis was tested to account for partial and modified recall from text. Two groups of undergraduates who demonstrated prior knowledge of either physics or music principles read three texts. Each text had been parsed into its content structure following Meyer's (1975) procedures. Sentences were identified as high, intermediate or low in the content structure. One text presented a new laser annealing technique, the second the history of musical notation, and the third the advantages of parakeets as pets. Each text was presented sentence-by-sentence under subject control on a computer display terminal. Reading rates were recorded for each sentence. Analysis of reading rates for all sentences showed that high content structure sentences were read at a faster rate on average than either intermediate or low content structure sentences by the group whose background knowledge was related to the text topic. Analysis of reading rates for targeted sentences showed that instructions to learn specific information resulted in depressed reading rates on average for sentences containing that information independent of the reader's background knowledge.

Descriptors :   *Memory(Psychology), *Attention, *Reading, *Text processing, Recall, Natural language, Phrase structure grammars, Skills, Comprehension, Motivation, Test methods, Instructions, Learning, Performance(Human), Rates, Error analysis

Subject Categories : Psychology
      Personnel Management and Labor Relations

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE