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Individual differences in processing coherence markers: The role of metacognitive knowledge in benefiting from cohesive texts

By M.A.J. Vlaar

Abstract

Coherence markers such as connectives are known to positively influence both the reading process and reading comprehension. However, their effect does not hold for all individuals. The present study proposes that metacognitive knowledge, concerning the use of strategies to regulate the reading process, may explain individual differences in benefiting from coherence markers. Metacognitive knowledge has been found to influence the degree to which readers can make use of their knowledge of connectives and obtain a good understanding of the text. As their reading comprehension differs, readers high and low in metacognitive knowledge were expected to process coherence markers differently. The present study investigated how metacognitive knowledge affects the reading process of high- and low-coherent texts. In a reading experiment, online eye-movement data and offline reading-comprehension data were gathered from 60 eighth-grade students with high or low metacognitive knowledge and equal knowledge of connectives. They read both high-coherent and low-coherent texts. The online data displayed a difference in the degree to which the two groups make use of connectives as processing instructions. While both groups sped up after reading a connective – indicating that both groups benefit from the presence of connectives –the high group displayed a much stronger ‘bridging’ effect: they briefly looked back to previous text from the segments directly after the connective, and proceeded to integrate the two clauses faster. This effect led to better information integration, as the group high in metacognitive knowledge obtained better scores on comprehension questions measuring local sentence integration

Topics: Metacognitive knowledge, discourse processing, coherence, individidual differences
Year: 2016
OAI identifier: oai:dspace.library.uu.nl:1874/334511
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