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Three turtles in danger: Spontaneous construction of causally relevant spatial situation models

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Jahn, G. (2004). Three turtles in danger: Spontaneous construction of causally relevant spatial situation models. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 30(5), 969-987. doi:10.1037/0278-7393.30.5.969.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-F3BB-8
Abstract
In 4 experiments, the author explored the spontaneous construction of spatial situation models during discourse comprehension by using the sentence-recognition paradigm of J. D. Bransford, J. R. Barclay, and J. J. Franks (1972). In Experiment 1, signaling causal relevance of spatial relations was a necessary precondition for replicating their original finding of spontaneously constructed spatial representations. Causal relevance was ensured in the subsequent experiments by a judgment task indirectly demanding the evaluation of described spatial relations with regard to causal relevance. Participants spontaneously constructed spatial situation models of text presented auditorily or visually. Effects of spontaneous construction were more reliable when encoding was easier. The results suggest a revised interpretation of J. D. Bransford et al.'s study and corroborate recent evidence showing that relevant spatial information in texts is reliably represented.