Date of Award
Program or Major
Doctor of Philosophy
Edward J O'Brien
Most models of comprehension differ in the degree to which they suggest that readers attempt to maintain both local and global coherence. Several models suggest that readers are concerned primarily with maintaining local coherence and only attempt to establish global coherence when there is a local coherence break. In contrast, other models suggest that readers attempt to establish both local and global coherence even when there is no local coherence break. These different types of models make competing predictions about accessibility of goal information during comprehension. Local coherence strategies predict that readers should only have access to goal information when the goal information is involved in local processing or required to maintain local coherence. In contrast, models emphasizing the maintenance of both local and global coherence suggest that readers should have access to goal information when the goal information is relevant to the current discourse topic. In three experiments, accessibility of global goal information was examined. In contrast to the predictions of the local coherence models, Experiment 1 demonstrated that subjects had greater access to global goal information following unsatisfied-goal statements than following satisfied-goal statements. Experiment 2 ruled out the possibility that unsatisfied-goal information was encoded in long-term memory stronger than satisfied-goal information. Finally, Experiment 3 demonstrated that subjects had greater access to superordinate goal information following unsatisfied-superordinate goal statements than following satisfied-superordinate goal statements. The results are discussed in terms of constructing a mental model level of representation.
Albrecht, Jason E., "Accessibility of goal information in a mental model" (1993). Doctoral Dissertations. 1745.