Academic journal article Canadian Psychology

The Mechanisms of Suppression and Enhancement in Comprehension

Academic journal article Canadian Psychology

The Mechanisms of Suppression and Enhancement in Comprehension

Article excerpt

The goal of comprehension is to build coherent mental representations or structures. These structures represent clauses, sentences, paragraphs, passages, and other meaningful units. Thus, comprehending a clause requires building a mental structure to represent what that clause is about; comprehending a sentence requires building a mental structure to represent what that sentence is about; comprehending a passage requires building a mental structure to represent what that passage is about.

In Gernsbacher (1990), I described a simple framework for understanding how comprehenders build mental structures during comprehension. I call this framework, the Structure Building Framework. According to the Structure Building Framework, comprehenders build mental structures by first laying foundations for their mental structures. Then, comprehenders develop their mental structures by mapping on information, when that incoming information coheres or relates to the previous information. However, if the incoming information is less coherent, comprehenders employ a different process: They shift and initiate a new substructure. Thus, shift and initiate a new substructure. Thus, most mental representations comprise several branching substructures.

The building blocks of mental structures are memory nodes, which represent previously stored memory traces. According to the Structure Building Framework, memory nodes are activated by incoming stimuli. Once activated, the information they represent can be used by comprehension. Further-more, according to the Structure Building Framework, activated memory nodes transmit processing signals. These processing signals either suppress or enhance the activation of other memory nodes. So, once memory nodes are activated two mechanisms modulate their level of activation: They are suppression and enhancement.

In addition to demonstrating the ubiquity of suppression and enhancement, these experiments have clarified the nature of these two mechanisms. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.