Recent research has suggested that each statement in a narrative text is understood by relating it to its causal antecedents and consequences and that the text as a whole is understood by finding a causal path linking its opening to its final outcome. Fletcher and Bloom (1988) have proposed that in order to accomplish this goal, while minimizing the number of times long-term memory has to be searched, readers focus their attention on the last clause of a narrative that has causal antecedents but no consequences in the preceding text. As a result, a statement that is followed by a causal antecedent should remain the focus of attention, while the same statement followed by a consequence should not. This prediction was tested and confirmed in three experiments which show that when a target statement is followed by a sentence that includes only causal antecedents, (a) continuation sentences related to it are read more quickly, (b) target words drawn from it are easier to recognize, and (c) subject-generated continuations are more likely to be causally related to it.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition|
|State||Published - Mar 1990|