Whose story is this? Discrepancy triggers readers’ attention to source information in short narratives
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Three experiments investigated the role of source information (i.e., who said what) in readers’ comprehension of short informational texts. Based on the Discrepancy-Induced Source Comprehension assumption (Braasch, Rouet, Vibert, & Britt, 2012), we hypothesized that readers would be more likely to make use of source information when summarizing stories that included discrepant statements. Readers would also memorize source information more accurately. Experiments 1 and 2 found that American and French college students were more likely to refer to source information when they summarized news reports containing discrepant assertions. A detailed content analysis of the summaries also indicated that students use hedging and several other tactics to resolve contradictions. Experiment 3 replicated Braasch et al.’s finding that sources of discrepant stories were more likely to be recalled than sources of consistent stories. Experiment 3 also extended these findings using longer texts and a different reading task. Altogether the data support the Documents Model framework of multiple source comprehension.
KeywordsText comprehension Summary Coherence Discrepancy Source
This research was supported in part through a grant from the “Agence Nationale pour la Recherche” [National Research Agency] (# ANR-12-CORD-0028) to the University of Poitiers and a grant from the United States Department of Education Cognition and Student Learning Research Program (# R305H020039), to Northern Illinois University. The research was also supported by a University of Poitiers “Invited researcher” grant to the Fourth author. We thank Loïc Caroux, Clément Nivet, and Elodie Phelippeau for their assistance with data collection.
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