Contemporary Psychology (Contemporary Psychology Series, 11) by Clive Hollin

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  • April 3, 2017
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By Clive Hollin

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Scientific American, 1992) To understand sentence 18, we require more than an elementary knowledge of physics; we need to be able to be familiar with some of the theoretical concepts mentioned. However, even when there are no obvious references to highly specialized technical knowledge, readers may still report that they cannot understand a piece of prose, nor are they able to recall much of it, as Bransford and Johnson (1972) found in an experiment using a passage of which the following is an extract: 19.

An excellent review of relevant biology. References BIEDERMAN, I. (1987) ‘Recognition by components: a theory of human image understanding’, Psychological Review, 94, 115–45. G. A. (1994) ‘Human sensitivity to temporal proximity: the role of spatial and temporal speed gradients’, Perception and Psychophysics, 55, 689–99. J. (1950) The Perception of the Visual World, Boston, Houghton Mifflin. J. (1979) The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception, Boston, Houghton Mifflin. L. , World University Library.

These sentences are undoubtedly difficult to understand and in the case of (b) it is hard to keep track of the number of times the word ‘had’ appears. Nevertheless both strings can Understanding written language 35 be parsed, that is the words can be grouped into sub-units or phrases which, when marked by punctuation, result in the following: (a) That that is, is not that that is not. Is that it? It is. (b) Here it is helpful to imagine that Mary and Jane have taken a test in English grammar and their answers are being compared, so we get: Mary, where Jane had had ‘had’, had had ‘had had’; ‘had had’ had had the teacher’s approval.

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