The limited facilitative effect of typographical signals

Jonathan M. Golding, Susan B. Fowler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Two experiments investigated the limited facilitative effect of typographical signals. Subjects were presented with a text that had parts of the microstructure (i.e., details within the text) underlined or not underlined. In addition, subjects were informed about a subsequent task that was designed to set up a specific expectation (i.e., receiving questions about the microstructure of the text, or being asked questions about the macrostructure or general nature of the text). After reading, all subjects were asked questions about the text's microstructure. In both experiments, it was found that the mere presence of signals did not lead to better performance on the questions. Instead, there was a facilitative effect only for those subjects who received signals and who received questions about the microstructure. Additionally, Experiment 2 found that in the same text the signaled information was recalled better than the nonsignaled information. These results argue against a general facilitative effect of typographical signals, and indicate that the use of these signals can vary as a function of strategic processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-113
Number of pages15
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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