Inference processing in discourse comprehension

Murray Singer

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780198568971
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:
 Inference processing in discourse comprehension

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Discourse understanding has been systematically studied within the framework of modern cognitive psychology for fewer than forty years. The inferences that accompany discourse comprehension have been a central focus of this field. One reason for this is that virtually every aspect of language comprehension is inferential. This article describes inferential phenomena that involve augmenting explicitly stated discourse ideas with implied concepts and relations. The term “discourse” refers to coherent messages in either of these modalities. In practice, however, a majority of the research has scrutinised reading comprehension. It is also noted that researchers have inspected numerous genres of discourse, including narratives, expositions, recipes, instruction lists, and poetry. The article first discusses the construction-integration model of inference processing in discourse comprehension, coherence and its impact on inference processing, and elaborative inferences.

Keywords: discourse; inference processing; cognitive psychology; language comprehension; discourse comprehension; reading comprehension; construction-integration model; coherence; elaborative inferences

Article.  11960 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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