Date of Award

Spring 2011

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Edward O'Brien


Causal information has been shown to help readers update outdated information (Rapp and Kendeou, 2007, 2009). Outdating occurs when integrating new information produces a conflict with encoded information that was encountered earlier in the text. There are also a number of individual differences among readers that influence how successful they will be at encoding, integrating, and outdating information including their reading skill, working memory capacity, and domain knowledge. This thesis examines how these individual differences impact how readers utilize causal information during updating. Across three experiments, participants were indexed as less-skilled or skilled readers using the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that skilled readers used causal information to update their representation of the text while less-skilled readers continued to show disruption from outdated information. The findings are examined in the discussion section.