Signaling hierarchical and sequential organization in expository text

Robert Lorch, Julie Lemarié, Russell Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Four experiments tested a hypothesized function of signaling devices, namely, to communicate information about text organization. Experiments 1 and 2 compared headings that communicated the hierarchical organization of text topics with headings that did not communicate the hierarchical organization. Signaling organization led to more complete and accurate outlines of a text. Experiment 3 compared headings that communicated the sequential organization of text topics with headings than did not communicate the organization. Signaling organization led to faster text search. Experiment 4 compared headings that emphasized the sequential organization of topics with headings that emphasized their hierarchical organization. In this comparison, sequential headings led to faster search times than hierarchical headings. Together, the results of the four experiments demonstrate (a) that signals can communicate two distinct types of organizational information, and (b) those two types of organization have distinct implications for text processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-284
Number of pages18
JournalScientific Studies of Reading
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)

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