Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

Text Repetition and Text Integration

Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

Text Repetition and Text Integration

Article excerpt

Two experiments explored the levels of text representation that mediate text repetition effects, following the Raney (2003) model. The magnitude of the repetition benefit in Experiment 1 supported predictions of Raney's model, indicating that the ease of forming a situation model contributed to the magnitude of the reprocessing benefit. In addition, representations organized around a good situation model were more sensitive to changes than were representations formed from reading without a good situation model. The results of Experiment 2 did not support the suggestion that the surface form and textbase are bound to a well-developed situation model, thereby limiting repetition effects to similar linguistic contexts. Rather, the nature of the repetition benefits in the present series of experiments are better explained by the degree of overlap between passages at each of the three levels of text representation.

For both fluent adult readers and beginning readers in elementary school, repeated reading of the same text leads to faster and more accurate reading, with no loss in comprehension (for reviews, see Levy, 1993,2001; Raney, 2003; Tenpenny, 1995). The theoretically interesting issue involves the nature of the memory representations formed during reading that can be recruited in the service of more fluent reprocessing on a later occasion. That is, what kinds of memory representations lead to practice or repetition benefits in text processing? Although the repetition benefit itself is well established, considerable debate has arisen regarding the nature of the memorial representations involved.

In the earlier literature, there were two main theoretical positions involved in this debate. According to the abstractionist position, the repetition benefit resulted from reprocessing lexical units. That is, lexical representations of individual word units wen primed during the first reading, so that later rereading of these units was faster and more accurate. Carr and his associates were the main advocates of this position (Brown & Carr, 1993; Carlson, Alejano, & Carr, 1991 ; Carr & Brown, 1990; Carr, Brown, & Charalambous, 1989). Carr et al. asked participants to read and reread aloud paragraphs that were in normal form or were scrambled word versions of the paragraphs. The basic finding was that there were equivalent benefits in rereading time whether the same or different versions were read on both occasions. That is, if a reader first read a scrambled word version and then reread a normal version, the repetition benefit was equal to when a normal version was read twice. These data clearly supported the view that the repetition benefit was at the single-word level, since loss of all of the text level structure in the scrambled paragraphs led to no loss in the repetition effect. Furthermore, Carr et al. found complete transfer across variations in font, suggesting that the lexical representations were abstract, carrying no information about the features of the visual input. These data offered strong support for the abstractionist explanation of the text repetition benefit.

However, Levy and her colleagues found results quite different from those of the Carr group (Levy & Burns, 1990; Levy et al., 1995; Levy, DiPersio, & Hollingshead, 1992; Levy & Kirsner, 1989). Levy and Bums asked participants to silently read and then reread texts that varied in form, following Carr et al.'s ( 1989) paradigm. However, they varied the level at which the scrambling occurred (paragraph, sentence, and word levels). They found that when a normal text was reread, there was a loss in the repetition benefit as the structure of the text version read first decreased. When the scrambling was at the word level, no transfer benefit was observed, failing to replicate Carr et al.'s findings. Levy, Massen, and Zoubeck (1991) also reported no transfer benefit from reading wordscrambled to reading normal texts. …

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