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Title: Mental models as representation of discourse and text.
Author: Garnham, A.
ISNI:       0000 0001 1032 1420
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1981
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This thesis is concerned with the mental representation of discourse and text. It argues that previous approaches to this problem, which claim that the representation is semantic, are fundamentally inadequate, and outlines a theory based on the idea that the representation is a mental model of part of a real or fictitious world. A number of experiments are reported which support this conclusion. The main experimental techniques used are cued recall, forced-choice recognition and self-paced reading. Chapters 2 and 3 summarise related theoretical and empirical work, respectively, and provide a number of criticisms, as well as some ~ priori arguments ~in favour of the existence of mental models. Chapter 4 describes 2 experiments which show that representations of texts are organised around tokens standing for individuals mentioned in the text. In Chapter 5, 3 exper iments are reported which examine: the elaboration of text representations on the basis of knowledge about the typical instruments, agents and locations of events. Such elaborations are best accounted for by assuming that representations are of particular events. Chapter 6 describes 4 experiments which show how and when representations of particular objects are made more specific. Again it is difficult to account for the results except on the assumption that discourse representations contain tokens standing for individuals. Chapter 7 elaborates upon the concept of a mental model, and shows how the theory proposed can give a much more detailed explanation of new and old empirical findings than previous theories were able to. In particular it is possible to describe how representations are constructed as discourse progresses. It further shows that if semantically based accounts of text representation are refined so that they are adequate, they can no longer be regarded as semantic. They become, in effect, a variant of the theory put forward in this thesis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychology