hension condition (although the differences were rarely significant). More research is clearly needed before we can establish a satisfactory explanation of the impact of readers' goals on inference generation, and on comprehension in general.
If the results of this study are valid and general, then the construction of bridging inferences is not substantially influenced by the goals of' the comprehender. We might extend our bridge construction metaphor a bit further. Bridge construction is a complex multifaceted industry that employs hundreds of interactive workers. Bridge construction is a sophisticated system that cannot easily be modified by outside forces or by a boss with an iron will. The boss might be able to speed up bridge construction or slow it down a bit, but the boss has a negligible impact on the guts of the system.
This research was supported, to various extents and at various times, by National Institute of Mental Health grants MH-31083 and MH-33491 and by National Science Foundation grant BNS-8104958. Requests for reprints should be sent to Arthur C. Graesser, Department of Psychology, Memphis State University, Memphis, Tennessee 38152.
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