Date of Award
Program or Major
Master of Arts
Edward J. O'Brien
A considerable amount of research has demonstrated that readers’ general world knowledge is passively activated and may influence comprehension. The experiments reported in this thesis were designed to investigate how factual information from general world knowledge that becomes available when reading a fictional narrative does not always disrupt reading comprehension. Across three experiments the amount of relevant information pertaining to the fictional narrative was systematically manipulated. Experiment I used parallel fictional narratives and substantial storybook openers. Experiments II and III utilized the same narratives, but reduced the openers. Taken together, the results of all three experiments demonstrated that enhancing the mental representation of the text mitigated the interfering effects of real-world expectations from general world knowledge when reading fictional narratives. These results are discussed within the framework of the memory-based view of text comprehension.
Dean, Sarah C., "Comprehending Fictional Narratives: Overcoming interference from general world knowledge" (2015). Master's Theses and Capstones. 909.
Available for download on Monday, April 01, 2115