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Increases in Intrusion Errors and Working Memory Deficit of Poor Comprehenders

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This study tests the hypothesis that the ability to inhibit already processed and actually irrelevant information could influence performance in the listening span test (Daneman & Carpenter, 1980) and have a crucial role in reading comprehension. In two experiments, the listening span test and a new working memory test were given to two groups of young adults, poor and good comprehenders, matched for logical reasoning ability. In Experiment 1, the poor comprehenders had a significantly lower performance in the listening span test associated to a higher number of intrusions-that is, recalled words that, in spite of being in sentence form, were not placed in the last position. In Experiment 2, a new working memory test was devised in order to analyse more effectively the occurrence of intrusions. Subjects were required to listen to a growing series of strings of animal and non-animal words. Whilst listening, they had to detect when an animal word occurred, and at the end of each series they had to recall the last word of each string. The poor comprehenders obtained a significantly lower performance in the memory task and made a higher number of intrusions, particularly of animal words.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 1998


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