Accession Number : ADA189034

Title :   Understanding Machines from Text and Diagrams.

Descriptive Note : Technical rept.,

Corporate Author : CARNEGIE-MELLON UNIV PITTSBURGH PA DEPT OF PSYCHOLOGY

Personal Author(s) : Hegarty, Mary ; Just, Marcel A

PDF Url : ADA189034

Report Date : Dec 1987

Pagination or Media Count : 27

Abstract : Instructional materials typically use both text and diagrams to explain how machines work. In this paper we give an account of what information is involved in understanding a mechanical device and the role that diagrams might play in communicating this information. We propose a model of how people read a text and inspect an accompanying diagram which states that people inspect diagrams for three reasons; (1) to form a representation of information read in the text, (2) to reactivate information that has already been represented, and (3) to encode information that is absent from the text. Using data from subjects' eye fixations while they read a text and inspected an accompanying diagram, we find tht low-ability subjects need to inspect diagrams more often than high-ability text. The data also suggest that knowledge of what is relevant in a diagram might be a prerequisite for encoding new information from a diagram. Keywords: Comprehension, Individual differences, Mental models.

Descriptors :   *COMPREHENSION, *INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS, *MACHINES, CODING, MECHANICAL COMPONENTS, MENTAL ABILITY, MODELS, READING

Subject Categories : Personnel Management and Labor Relations
      Psychology

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE