We examined the effect of interruption on reading to determine if discourse processing is susceptible to similarity-based interference. Participants read pairs of passages, either one before the other (in the continuous condition) or with the sentences of the two passages interleaved (in the interruption condition). In addition, the similarity of the types of passages (narrative or expository) in a pair was manipulated. Performance was measured with self-paced reading time of the sentences and with accuracy in answering comprehension questions. In two experiments, interruption slowed the reading of text sentences; this effect of interruption was greatest when the interrupting text was of the same style as the primary text (an interruption-similarity effect). We discuss these results with respect to current models of the role of working memory in discourse processing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)