Effects of Signaling Topic Structure on Text Recall

Robert F. Lorch, Elizabeth Pugzles Lorch, W. Elliot Inman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Two experiments studied effects of signaling devices (headings, overviews, and summaries) on text memory. In Experiment 1, subjects read a text with or without signals, then recalled the topics of the text. Signaling produced better memory for the topics and their organization. In Experiment 2, subjects recalled the content of the text they read, and recalls were scored for the number of accurately recalled ideas. Signals produced recalls that were better organized by text topics. Signals also influenced the distribution of recall of ideas: Subjects remembered more topics but recalled less about each accessed topic if the text they read contained signals than if it did not. The results are interpreted as supporting a model in which signals influence readers' representations of a text's topic structure, which, in turn, is used to guide the recall of text content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-290
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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