Summarizing scrambled stories

Memory & Cognition
W KintschE Kozminsky


Subjects read stories 1,400 words long and wrote 60- to 80-word summaries of these stores. Reading time was either unrestricted or limited, and the stories were either presented in natural order or with their paragraphs scrambled. Reading times were longer for the scrambled stories, but the same kind of summaries were produced whether stories were presented in natural or scrambled order. When a well-structured story was used, judges were unable to distinguish the two types of summaries and rated the adequacy of summaries based upon the scrambled version about as high as that of summaries based upon normal stories. For a less well-structured story, judges could differentiate between the summaries from natural and scrambled stories. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of the story schema which permits subjects to comprehend scrambled stories by reorganizing them.


Jan 1, 1974·Journal of Experimental Psychology·S Rosenberg, W E Lambert

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