Detecting general and specific errors in expository texts

Steven R. Yussen, M. Cecil Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In a series of three experiments, subjects read and/or listened to expository passages containing general or specific errors within paragraphs. A general error consisted of a key, topical statement in a paragraph which contradicted details which should follow logically from it. Specific errors consisted of ideas that contradicted one another in a single sentence. In all three experiments subjects proved to be more likely to spot general errors than specific ones. A search for cognitive correlates of error detection performance was only partially successful. For conditions where subjects read the expository passages, vocabulary knowledge was positively associated with error detection performance (Experiment 2), as was reading comprehension (Experiment 3). There was no consistent difference between reading and listening in the ease with which subjects identified errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-240
Number of pages17
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1990


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