Integration of Pictures and Discourse
Final technical rept. 1 Jul 1989-30 Nov 1992
WISCONSIN UNIV-MADISON DEPT OF PSYCHOLOGY
Pagination or Media Count:
Pictures help people to comprehend and remember texts. The goal of this project is to begin to understand how this occurs. This Final Technical Report describes progress in three areas. First, the authors have demonstrated that pictures are used to modify the mental representation derived from texts. When reading with pictures, people tend to form mental models, even when reading in relatively unfamiliar domains. These mental models are representations of what the text is about in contrast to representations of the text itself, they have an analogical character, and they are constructed using the visualspatial sketchpad of working memory. Second, they have documented some comprehension processes that are affected by pictures and some that are not. In particular, ease of anaphor resolution is independent of the presence or absence of pictures. On the other hand, pictures enhance the readers ability to compute a particular kind of elaborative inference that is called noticing. These inferences are derived from spatial relations within the mental model, but need not represent spatial information. Third, the authors describe a computer simulation that demonstrates how the various processes and representations identified experimentally can be coordinated using a limited-capacity system. Reading, Comprehension, Pictures, Mental models.
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