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Mem Cognit. 2000 Sep;28(6):1011-21.

Effects of titles on the processing of text and lexically ambiguous words: evidence from eye movements.

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Washington State University, Vancouver, USA.


Providing titles for passages improves the comprehension and memorability of text. Titles have generally been thought to facilitate comprehension at later stages of processing. Consistent with prior research, we found that passages presented with titles were better recalled than those without titles. Furthermore, in Experiment 1, the presence of titles led to fewer regressive eye movements, shorter end-of-sentence reading times, and shorter fixation times on target nouns. Experiments 2 and 3, using ambiguous target words, indicated that except when a very infrequent sense of a word is required, titles provide a strong enough context to allow for ambiguous words to be processed as quickly as control words. The results of the three experiments suggest that titles affect processing at both integrative and lexical stages of reading.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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