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1. Broadly, the mental processes involved in making sense of any communication.

2. (literal comprehension) Ascribing plausible meanings to message elements and understanding their denotation. See also literal meaning.

3. (inferential comprehension) Constructing an interpretation of a message. Inferring the preferred meaning by ‘going beyond the information given’ (Bruner). See also inference. Decoding a message with appropriate reference to textual and social codes or schemata, and to context.

4. For most theorists, a function of a higher order than the perceptual level (hearing, seeing etc.); others insist that interpretation cannot be tidily separated from perception or that interpretation may also guide perception.

5. In some models this includes the higher order skills of evaluation (e.g. character evaluation and modality judgements) and appreciation (including awareness of connotations).

6. The understanding resulting from such processes.

Subjects: Media Studies.

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