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Mem Cognit. 2001 Sep;29(6):850-9.

Comprehension skill, inference-making ability, and their relation to knowledge.

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University of Sussex, Brighton, England.


In this study we investigated the relation between young children's comprehension skill and inference-making ability using a procedure that controlled individual differences in general knowledge (Barnes & Dennis, 1998; Barnes, Dennis, & Haefele-Kalvaitis, 1996). A multiepisode story was read to the children, and their ability to make two types of inference was assessed: coherence inferences, which were essential for adequate comprehension of the text, and elaborative inferences, which enhanced the text representation but which were not crucial to understanding. There was a strong relation between comprehension skill and inference-making ability even when knowledge was equally available to all participants. Subsidiary analyses of the source of inference failures revealed different underlying sources of difficulty for good and poor comprehenders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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