On-line Processing of Summary and Importance Signals in Reading

Robert F. Lorch, Elizabeth Pugzles Lorch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


How do readers respond to signals in a text that certain information is relevant? Subjects in Experiment 1 read texts a sentence at a time while their reading times were recorded for specific target sentences. Subjects took longer to read a summary sentence if the preceding sentence signaled it as a summary than if no preceding signal was provided. Further, the effect of signaling a summary was larger for poor readers than for good readers. There was no corresponding effect of signaling on reading times for sentences marked as important statements, but Experiment 2 demonstrated that recall of important text information was enhanced if the information was signaled rather than unsignaled. The results demonstrate that experienced readers use text signals to guide their attention to relevant information in a text.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-496
Number of pages8
JournalDiscourse Processes
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 1986

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a University of Kentucky Research Foundation Grant, and by two UKRF Faculty Summer Fellowships to the first author. We thank Lisa Reucroft, Donna Shelton, and Leasa Shake for their help in running Experiment 1.

Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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