Frameworks for Comprehending Discourse. Technical Report No. 12

TitleFrameworks for Comprehending Discourse. Technical Report No. 12
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication1976
AuthorsAnderson, R. C., Reynolds R. E., Schallert D. L., & Goetz E. T.
KeywordsCenter for the Study of Reading (Illinois)
AbstractIn this study, 30 male college students from two weightlifting classes and 30 female college students enrolled in an educational psychology course designed specifically for music education majors were asked to read two ambiguous passages, each of which could be interpreted in two different ways. The first passage could be perceived as describing either a prison break or a wrestling match, while the second could be understood as detailing either an evening of card playing or a rehearsal session of a woodwind ensemble. Scores on multiple-choice tests, the content of written themes, and comments in free recall of the passage indicated a striking relationship between the subjects' backgrounds and their interpretation of the selections. These results indicate that high-level schemata provide the interpretive framework for comprehending discourse. The fact that most subjects reported being unaware of alternative interpretations suggests that schemata can cause people to "see" a message in light of their own frame of reference. Tables of findings are included. (Author/KS)