This study investigated the effects of task relevance instructions and topic beliefs on reading processes and memory for belief-related text. Undergraduates received task instructions (focus on arguments for vs. against) before reading a dual-position text. In Experiment 1 (n = 88), a reading time methodology showed no differences in reading time for task-relevant and task-irrelevant text, but participants recalled task-relevant text better than task-irrelevant text independently of whether the information was consistent with their topic beliefs. In Experiment 2 (n = 76), a think-aloud methodology showed that participants engaged in confirmation strategies when reading belief-consistent text and disconfirmation strategies when reading belief-inconsistent text, independently of whether the information was relevant to their task instructions. Nonetheless, participants recalled task-relevant text better than task-irrelevant text. The results indicate that task relevance instructions affect memory independently of beliefs but that beliefs affect processing independently of task relevance instructions. Thus, moment-by-moment reading processes and memory for text can operate differently as a function of topic beliefs.
Bohn-Gettler, Catherine M.; McCrudden, Matthew T. (2018). Effects of Task Relevance Instructions and Topic Beliefs on Reading Processes and Memory Discourse Processes, 55(4), 410-431. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0163853X.2017.1292824
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