ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2014, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (1): 27-35.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00027

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The Preservation of Readers’ Reality-predictive and Preference-predictive Inferences in Narrative Comprehension

LU Chao;MO Lei;WU Limei;CHEN Lin;LUO Xueying   

  1. (1 Center for Studies of Psychological Application, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, 510631, China) (2 School of Shenzhen Yuxin, Shenzhen, 518107, China) (3 College of Chinese Language and Culture, Jinan University, Guangzhou, 510610, China) (4 School of Chinese as a Second Language, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510275, China) (5 College of International Culture, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China)
  • Received:2011-12-26 Published:2014-01-25 Online:2014-01-25
  • Contact: MO Lei


Predictive inferences (PI) in text reading can have been defined as estimation and expectation to the upcoming matters in the text based on the current reading information. Research on PI in text reading has been one of the hotspots in the field of narrative reading. Numerous researchers have studied on the issues of activation, factors, and representation of contextual PI, coming up with various achievements. Reality factor and preference factor are two main factors influencing the process of readers’ PI, hence PI in text reading can be categorized into two different types: reality-PI and preference-PI. Reality-PI are PI to the results based on the objective situation of contextual information, combined with common experience. The readers will predict and infer based on their own emotion and preference, i.e., preference-PI. Previous studies on PI mainly focused on the processing mechanism of reality-PI, few focus on preference-PI. The aim of the present study was to investigate the difference of preservation of these two types of PI in long term memory. Three experiments were designed, using self-paced reading procedure. Experiment 1 and 2 have investigated the preservation of reality-PI and preference-PI in long term memory. Experiment 3 investigated whether preference-PI will vanish by negating the reality condition in the sentence which may trigger preference. Participants were asked to read short narratives firstly and answer a related question after reading each passage. All materials were presented on a computer-controlled monitor. Participants read the passages in a self-paced manner, advancing the text one line at a time by pressing the space bar. Participants were instructed to read carefully. The reaction time of the prime was recorded and analyzed. The results of the present study have suggested that there is obvious difference between the preservation of reality-PI and that of preference-PI in the long term memory. Preference-PI can be preserved in the long-term memory while reality-PI can not. However, readers can no longer preserve the original preference-PI if it is restricted by real-world condition, which has suggested that preference-PI can not solely exist and is restricted by real-world condition. It will vanish if negated by the reality and will no longer affect readers’ further reading.

Key words: predictive inference, reality-predictive inferences, preference-predictive inferences, preservation