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Title:Variation in mental models of text as a function of genre
Author(s):Ohtsuka, Keisuke
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Brewer, William F.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Educational Psychology
Education, Reading
Psychology, Experimental
Abstract:This dissertation addresses the question "Does text genre affect the characteristics of mental representations built from text?" As early as the turn of last century writing teachers used text genre to classify textual styles in rhetoric textbooks. Recently researchers have suggested that the characteristics of mental models formed from one text genre would be different from the mental models formed from another genre (Brewer, 1980; Johnson-Laird, 1983). Readers of survey texts and route texts were faster and more accurate in verifying spatial information that was presented in the same form as the initial text (Perrig & Kintsch, 1985). The results suggest that the characteristics of mental models built from these two texts were different. Readers use different information to resolve ambiguity in order to determine ambiguous pronoun referents when narrative texts and descriptive texts were compared (Morrow, 1985, 1986). If the knowledge about text genre affects the process of mental model construction, does it also affect the characteristics of the mental model built from various genres?
In this dissertation, the characteristics of mental models built from three genres, descriptive, procedural, and narrative texts, which contain the same underlying spatial information, were examined by asking three types of inference questions. One hundred twenty-two undergraduate students read one of the three genres on a computer display and later answered inference questions about spatial information. Accuracy scores and response time data were examined. The results suggest that the mental model built from the Descriptive text differs from the models built from the other two genres and shows more two-dimensional characteristics. The readers were able to transform the mental model constructed from one genre of text to other forms of mental models in order to answer different types of inference questions. Therefore, the mental models built from text can be conceptualized as flexible representations that can be manipulated by readers rather than static, rigid structures that simply hold the textual information for retrieval.
Issue Date:1990
Rights Information:Copyright 1990 Ohtsuka, Keisuke
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9026285
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9026285

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