Text comprehension difficulties and memory process

Text comprehension difficulties and memory process

First Author: Emeline Lussiana -- Laboratoire DysCo
Additional authors/chairs: 
Rémy Versace; Sabine Guéraud
Keywords: Comprehension difficulty, Memory process, Knowledge access, Adolescent
Abstract / Summary: 

Several studies have highlighted a specific difficulty of less-skilled comprehenders (LSC) to access semantic knowledge from memory (Nation & Snowling, 1999). The purpose of the presented research was to explore further this phenomenon within an embodied memory framework, the Act-In model (Versace et al., 2014). Within this framework two processes underlined emergence of semantic knowledge: a parallel activation process of sensory-motor features of information which is followed by an integration process that integrates together the activated features within the emergent knowledge. We tested the assumption that LSC difficulties to activate knowledge may result from a failure to integrate the different features of emergent knowledge. We replicated Brunel et al. (2010) experiment with 28 skilled (SC) and 32 LSC adolescents. It allows to investigate the integration process through a two phases experiment. In integration phase, participants were asked to categorize shapes (i.e., squares vs circles). During this phase, a white noise was systematically presented simultaneously with one of the shapes. To test whether the white noise has been integrated as a feature of the shape in memory, the second phase used a priming paradigm in which the shapes categorized previously were used a prime. The targets were objects that are usually associated with a sound (e.g., lawnmower) or not (e.g., table). Participants had to categorize the targets’ size (i.e., small vs tall). The analysis performed on correct response time showed a main effect of the level of comprehension. More importantly, and as expected, the Level of Comprehension x Prime Sonority interaction reached significance for the sound object only: SC showed the priming effect of the sound prime as was observed by Brunel et al. (2010) with adults whereas no priming effect was observed for LSC. We interpret this absence of effect as indicating that LSC did not integrate the sound with the shape during the integration phase.