Information that is significant in the light of die conceptual framework, or “schema,” within which a text is interpreted ought to be better learned and recalled than less significant information. This hypothesis was evaluated in an experiment in which college students read narratives about a meal at a fine restaurant or a trip to a supermarket. The same 18 items of food, attributed to the same characters, were mentioned in the same order in the two stories. As predicted, foods from categories determined to be part of most people’s restaurant schemata were better recalled by students who read the restaurant narrative. Also as predicted, students who received the restaurant narrative were more likely to recall the character to whom a food had been attributed. However, contrary to expectation, participants were equally likely to reproduce food-order information whichever passage they had read. Information of the same significance in the context of either the restaurant or supermarket story was equally well recalled by the two groups.
Anderson, R. C., Spiro, R. J., & Anderson, M. C. (1978). Schemata as Scaffolding for the Representation of Information in Connected Discourse. American Educational Research Journal, 15(3), 433-440. https://doi.org/10.3102/00028312015003433