Fault-tolerant comprehension

Taylor, Lawrence and Zwaan, Rolf (2012) Fault-tolerant comprehension. In: Language and Action in Cognitive Neuroscience. Contemporary Topics in Cognitive Neuroscience . Psychology Press, London, pp. 145-158. ISBN 9781848720824, 9780203095508

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When you read about a person double-lutzing off a cliff, your ability to understand what is described depends on your experience and world knowledge. Most people will at least surmise that the person is a death-defying thrill-seeker and imagine a precipice. Winter sports aficionados might peg the double-lutzer as a suicidal ice-skater, picture an icy cliff, and note that sticking the landing will be exceptionally tricky. In addition to this, a professional figure-skater might mentally simulate the process of building up speed, jumping, and completing two revolutions while airborne or recall the last time he completed a double-lutz. This example illustrates two aspects of language comprehension that we will highlight in this chapter. First, the depth of a person’s understanding of a described event depends upon her experience and world knowledge. Second, as a reader’s relevant knowledge decreases, his understanding of an event does not suddenly disappear, but degrades grace - fully. That is, comprehension is a fault-tolerant process in which different people with various degrees of experience understand event descriptions at different levels of depth and granularity.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Ay Okpokam
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2012 15:37
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 18:17
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/5273

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