The influence of topic interest, prior knowledge, and cognitive capabilities on text comprehension

  • The present study investigated the influence of topic interest on the comprehension of texts. The primary goals of the study were as follows: (1) to formulate a new definition of the concept "topic interest", (2) to control for cognitive capabilities (intelligence, short-term memory) and prior knowledge, and(3) to assess different levels of comprehension. A total of 53 male students, majoring in computer science, took part in the study. Subjects were presented with a text on "Psychology of Emotion". Prior to reading the text, they were asked to indicate their level of interest in the topic. After reading the text, subjects were given a test of comprehension involving open-ended questions. The questions were designed to represent different levels of comprehension. The results show that the effect of topic interest on text comprehension is especially pronounced when a deeper level of understanding is required. Surprisingly, prior knowledge had no effect on the level of comprehension. Verbal intelligence, on the other hand, showed a cleaThe present study investigated the influence of topic interest on the comprehension of texts. The primary goals of the study were as follows: (1) to formulate a new definition of the concept "topic interest", (2) to control for cognitive capabilities (intelligence, short-term memory) and prior knowledge, and(3) to assess different levels of comprehension. A total of 53 male students, majoring in computer science, took part in the study. Subjects were presented with a text on "Psychology of Emotion". Prior to reading the text, they were asked to indicate their level of interest in the topic. After reading the text, subjects were given a test of comprehension involving open-ended questions. The questions were designed to represent different levels of comprehension. The results show that the effect of topic interest on text comprehension is especially pronounced when a deeper level of understanding is required. Surprisingly, prior knowledge had no effect on the level of comprehension. Verbal intelligence, on the other hand, showed a clear effect on comprehension, especially in answering questions of simple knowledge. The effects of interest and verbal intelligence could be shown to be independent of one another.show moreshow less

Download full text files

Export metadata

  • Export Bibtex
  • Export RIS
  • Export XML

Additional Services

Share in Twitter Search Google Scholar
Metadaten
Author:Ulrich Schiefele
URN:urn:nbn:de:kobv:517-opus-33472
Series (Serial Number):Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Humanwissenschaftliche Reihe, ISSN 1866-8364 (paper 047)
Document Type:Postprint
Language:English
Date of Publication (online):2009/07/29
Year of Completion:1990
Publishing Institution:Universität Potsdam
Release Date:2009/07/29
Source:Learning environments / J. M. Pieter; K. Breuer; P. R. J. Simons (Eds.). - Berlin : Springer, 1990. - S.323-338
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Psychologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoKeine Nutzungslizenz vergeben - es gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht