Lezen en luisteren in moedertaal en vreemde taal
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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When readers understand a text they construct a mental representation of the text. This text representation contains not only the information that is explicitly expressed in the text, but also information that is inferred by the readers during reading. A text representation can be described in terms of relations between the elements in the representation, but also in terms of relations of the representation with (a model of) the world. For example, readers can determine whether a particular sentence is logically consistent with the text, as well as whether it is true or false, whether it is plausible or possible, or whether it is completely new for her or him.The distinction between relations within the structure of the text representation and relations that refer to the world has hardly ever been made in empirical research on inferences. In general inferences have been investigated from the point of view of their contribution to the coherence of the representation. The consequence is that the question whether inferences are made during reading has generally been answered in terms of the internal coherence of the representation: Inferences that contribute to the coherence of the representation are made during reading, other inferences are not.The central question in the present research is to what extent inference processes are determined by the relations of the inferences with a model of the world and, accordingly, to what extent inference processes are determined by the reader's knowledge of the world. Experiments are discussed on inferences that contribute to the coherence of the representation and, accordingly, are supposed to be made during reading. In this research the knowledge of the reader with respect to the topic of the text was varied by having expert economists and non-experts reading texts on economics. The results indicate that the prevalent conclusion with respect to inferences is an overgeneralisation. It was demonstrated that inference processes are controlled by the reader's knowledge.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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