Identification of written discourse topics by structure coherence and analogy strategies: General aspects and individual differences

Rachel Giora, Nachshon Meiran, Paz Oref

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Categorically structured informative texts exhibit their discourse-topic in the beginning. When asked what the text is about, the skilled reader would deeply process the first proposition and skim through the rest for disconfirmation. S/he will, therefore, perform poorly on incoherent texts whose discourse-topic is displaced. Gifted and normal high-school students from a high socioeconomic neighborhood correctly identified more topics in coherent than in incoherent texts (Experiment 1). Low socioeconomic status subjects performed more poorly than the high socioeconomic status subjects on coherent texts, but better on incoherent texts (Experiment 2). Analogy improved performance on coherent texts among low socioeconomic status subjects, who came from academic classes, but did not affect performance on incoherent texts. Experiment 3 studied discourse-topic identification of schematically organized texts by low socioeconomic status subjects, and found that analogies impaired it. The results are discussed in terms of the distinction between general comprehension and text-specific strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-474
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1996

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