Aspects of Literary Comprehension: A Cognitive Approach by Rolf A. Zwaan

By Rolf A. Zwaan

Given the truth that there are greatly forms of textual content, it's not going that each textual content is processed within the comparable manner. it truly is assumed the following that for every textual content kind, informed readers have constructed a specific cognitive keep an eye on process, which regulates the fundamental operations of textual content comprehension. The ebook makes a speciality of the comprehension of literary texts, which includes particular cognitive options that let the reader to reply flexibly to the indeterminacies of the literary examining state of affairs. The learn is based seriously on equipment and theoretical conceptions from cognitive psychology and offers the result of experiments performed with genuine readers. the implications should not simply suitable to analyze difficulties in literary concept, but additionally to the learn of discourse comprehension commonly.

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For example, leisure reading proceeds at a rather fast rate (a reasonable estimate would be about 400 words per minute, cf. Nell 1988:18), the reading process is considerably slowed down when people are required to think aloud. This may cause subjects to process the text more thoroughly and produce more inferences than they would do under normal circumstances, which may lead researchers to overestimate the role of in­ ference-drawing in literary comprehension. By contrast, a relatively nonobtrusive task, such as a subject-paced reading task, enables the researcher to examine subjects while they are reading at a more or less normal pace.

By the word "novel" on the title page of a book, or by the wish to read the newspaper), it becomes in charge of regulating the basic comprehension processes. The control system selects or 11 Actually, the word "episodic" is an unfortunate choice, as it is also used to denote the part of long-term memory incorporating personal experiences, and thus creates confusion. 32 ASPECTS OF LITERARY COMPREHENSION: A COGNITIVE APPROACH activates relevant strategies (in computational terms "productions") and data elements, and filters out an often huge number of irrelevant things.

Most empirical studies of literary comprehension have in common that they utilize tasks that are either "post-processing" or, when "in-process," highly obtrusive (that is, interfering with the comprehension process). In some tasks, subjects were asked to evaluate sentences and in others to think aloud while reading a text. While several studies have shown that processes explored by think-aloud methods sucessfully predict reading times when no protocols are collected (cf. Magliano and Graesser, in press), it seems that there are more appropriate methods, such as reading-time measurements, to test hypotheses about "fluent" comprehension.

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