Mental Models and Narrative Comprehension: Some Qualifications

Stephanie Gray Wilson, Mike Rinck, Timothy P. McNamara, Gordon H. Bower, Daniel G. Morrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In a series of experiments we investigated the nature of mental representations created during narrative comprehension. Subjects learned the layout of a research center and then read a series of stories about characters performing various tasks in the center. Accessibility of information was measured by periodically interrupting the narratives with a pair of object names (object probes) or a protagonist name and an object name (protagonist probes). The subjects′ task was to indicate whether the probed items were in the same room or in different rooms of the learned layout. The results indicated that the presence of protagonist probes was necessary for the construction of detailed situation models (e.g., Bower & Morrow, 1990; Morrow, Bower, & Greenspan, 1989; Morrow, Greenspan. & Bower, 1987). Therefore, it is important to consider task demands and reader goals when investigating the structure and the content of mental representations created during narrative comprehension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-154
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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