Language Comprehension as Structure Building

Front Cover
This research investigated the role of two structure building mechanisms in language comprehension. They are Suppression and Enhancement. The first series of experiments investigated the role of suppression in word understanding. The results demonstrated that the mechanism of suppression dampens the activation of the inappropriate meanings of ambiguous words; they do not decrease in activation simply because their activation is consumed by appropriate meanings or because they decay. A second series of experiments investigated the role of suppression in improving the accessibility of concepts marked by cataphoric devices. Cataphoric devices are counterparts to anaphoric devices: Anaphoric devices mark concepts that have been mentioned before, and cataphoric devices mark concepts that are likely to be mentioned again. The results demonstrated that when concepts are marked with cataphoric devices, like spoken stress and the indefinite this, they are better at suppressing the activation of other concepts, and they are more resistant to being suppressed by other concepts. A third series of experiments investigated the role of suppression and enhancement in adult comprehension skill. The results demonstrated that less-skilled comprehenders less-efficiently suppress the inappropriate meanings of ambiguous words, the incorrect forms of homophones, the typical-but-absent members of scenes, and words superimposed on pictures or pictures surrounding words. (SDW).
 

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Contents

Chapter
1
The Advontoge of First Mention
10
Is the Advantage lost when first and secondmentioned
17
Do comprehenders have greatest access to the substructure
27
Is the change in accessibility due to rehearsal cycles?
33
Do comprehenders represent clausal dependencies?
39
The Communicotive Function
46
Does Referential Coherence facilitate mapping?
53
Do more explicit pronouns trigger suppression more powerfully?
126
What about other levels of anaphoric explicitness?
133
Why are the mechanisms of suppression and enhancement
137
Do cataphoric devices improve their concepts
145
Are cataphorically marked concepts more resistant
151
Suppression and Enhancement
161
INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES
167
Individual Differences in Accessing
175

Does Causal Coherence facilitate mapping?
60
Do comprehenders quickly forget information after crossing
70
Why do comprehenders quickly forget the exact form
72
Do comprehenders build separate substructures to represent
78
Chapter 4
84
Are inappropriate meanings mutually inhibited?
94
Does suppression dampen less relevant associations
104
How does an anaphors referent become most activated?
110
Why are concepts as activated before pronouns as after?
117
Individuol Differences in Suppression
185
Are lessskilled comprehenders less efficient at suppressing
186
Individudl Differences in Enhoncement
203
CONCLUSIONS
221
In what medium are mental structures and substructures
227
What is lost by describing language comprehension at
239
REFERENCES
245
INDEX
277
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