Term of Award

Summer 2005

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

John D. Murray

Committee Member 1

Janice N. Steirn

Committee Member 2

Daniel Webster

Abstract

The combined influence of causal connectives and varying levels of causal relatedness on online and offline comprehension of expository texts was investigated. The current hypothesis was that causal connectives would encourage elaborative processing and online generation of bridging inferences, particularly in the moderately to low causally related sentence pairs. This was predicted because past research has noted causal connectives capacity to elicit generation of inferences online. Connectives were not predicted to encourage inference generation in the higher-related items because the causal bridging inference should be obvious to the reader. To test this, a new set of 24 expository items was generated with four versions of each item representing varying levels of causal relatedness. Results show little evidence supporting the hypotheses. To account for the null findings, the potential difficulty and participants lack of familiarity with the text content are discussed as factors. Suggestions for future research are presented.

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