Alan Garnham (1992) Minimalism Versus Constructionism: a False
. Psycoloquy: 3(63) Reading Inference 1 (1)
Versions: ASCII formatted
Psycoloquy 3(63): Minimalism Versus Constructionism: a False
MINIMALISM VERSUS CONSTRUCTIONISM: A FALSE
DICHOTOMY IN THEORIES OF INFERENCE DURING READING
Target Article by Garnham on Reading-Inference-1
Laboratory of Experimental Psychology
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QG, UK
McKoon and Ratcliff (1992) argue for a "minimalist"
theory of inference in reading, contrasting it with
"constructionist" theories, including theories based on mental or
situation models. Minimal inferences are those required for local
(not global) coherence and those based on readily available
knowledge. This target article argues that minimalism is a hedged
and less testable version of an older theory. More important,
McKoon and Ratcliff mischaracterize constructionism, failing to
notice that local coherence often depends on constructionist
processes. When people do not have the knowledge required to
establish local coherence, they do not do so during reading. The
only unhedged prediction of the minimalist theory is hence
incorrect. Although a theory of inference making should be both
constructionist and approximately minimalist, a distinction must be
made between a computational theory of inference making and a
description of the mechanisms underlying our inferential
constructionism, inference, mental models, minimalism,
reading, text comprehension
- Baker, L. (1989). Metacognition, comprehension monitoring, and the adult reader. Educational Psychology Review, 1, 3-38.
- Barwise, J. & Perry, J. (1983). Situations and attitudes. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press/Bradford Books.
- Bransford, J.D., Barclay, J.R. & Franks, J.J. (1972). Sentence memory: A constructive versus interpretive approach. Cognitive Psychology, 3, 193-209.
- Corbett, A.T. & Dosher, B.A. (1978). Instrument inferences in sentence encoding. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 17, 479-491
- Dosher, B.A. & Corbett, A.T. (1982). Instrument inferences and verb schemata. Memory and Cognition, 10, 531-539.
- Garnham, A. (1982). Testing psychological theories about inference making. Memory and Cognition, 10, 341-349.
- Garnham, A. (1987). Mental models as representations of discourse and text. Chichester: Ellis Horwood.
- Garnham, A. (1989). Inference in language understanding: What, when, why and how. In R. Dietrich & C.F. Graumann (Eds.), Language processing in social context. (pp.153-172). Amsterdam: North Holland.
- Garnham, A & Oakhill, J.V. (1992). Discourse representation and text processing from a "mental models" perspective. Language and Cognitive Processes, 7, 193-204.
- Garnham, A., Oakhill, J.V., & Johnson-Laird, P.N. (1982). Referential continuity and the coherence of discourse. Cognition, 11, 29-46.
- Gernsbacher, M.A. & Robertson, R.R.W. (1992). Knowledge activation versus sentence mapping when representing fictional characters' emotional states. Language and Cognitive Processes, 7, 353-371.
- Haviland, S.E & Clark, H.H. (1974). What's new: Acquiring new information as a process in comprehension. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 13, 512-521.
- Johnson-Laird, P.N. (1983). Mental models: Towards a cognitive science of language, inference, and consciousness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Kamp, H. (1981). A theory of truth and semantic representation. In J. Groenendijk, T. Janssen & M. Stokof (Eds.), Formal methods in the study of language (pp. 255-278). Amsterdam: Mathematical Centre Tracts.
- Marr, D. (1982). Vision: A computational investigation into the human representation and processing of visual information. San Francisco: Freeman
- McKoon, G. & Ratcliff, R. (1992). Inference during reading. Psychological Review, 99, 440-466.
- Noordman, L.G.M. & Vonk, W. (1992). Reader's knowledge and the control of inference in reading. Language and Cognitive Processes, 7, 373-391.
- Paris, S.G. & Lindauer, B,K. (1976). The role of inferences in children's comprehension and memory for sentences. Cognitive Psychology, 8, 217-227.
- Potts, G.R. (1974). Storing and retrieving information about ordered relationships. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 103, 431-439.
- Singer, M. (1980). The role of case-filling inferences in the comprehension of brief passages. Discourse Processes, 3, 185-201.
- Thorndyke, P.W. (1976). The role of inferences in discourse comprehension. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 15, 437-446.