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Reading Psychology, 26:335–362, 2005 Copyright C 2005 Taylor & Francis Inc.

ISSN: 0270-2711 print / 1521-0685 online DOI: 10.1080/02702710500285870

THE ROLE OF TOP-DOWN AND BOTTOM-UP PROCESSES IN BETWEEN-TEXT INTEGRATION
CHRISTOPHER A. KURBY, M. ANNE BRITT, and JOSEPH P. MAGLIANO Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA

This study examined the extent to which readers integrate information from related texts as a function of both top-down evaluation processes and bottom-up resonance. In Experiment 1, participants read and recalled ambiguous texts about events that were preceded by a descriptive text (primer) of the event. Participants’ recall of the ambiguous texts was highly integrated in content and structure, including a heightened sensitivity to predicates shared between texts. Experiment 2 manipulated whether the primer or ambiguous text was read first and the degree of conceptual overlap between texts. Participants’ accuracy in an inter-textual anaphor resolution task showed a top-down and a bottom-up influence in intertextual integration.

Understanding new experiences, including text, often requires readers to integrate them with prior experiences (Kintsch, 1998), which is often the case in an educational setting such as history (Britt, Perfetti, Sandak, & Rouet, 1999). The understanding of a historical document requires the integration of other historical documents a person has read. This integration allows one to connect an array of related, or overlapping, events into a composite representation. Suppose that through a period of time, one read a number of texts about the first manned moon landing. Each of those texts most likely would share titles, characters, entities, places, and events. For example, a text on this topic could mention Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins, the astronauts on this first trip. The mere fact that multiple texts mention the same individuals, however, does not necessarily imply that the texts should or will be integrated. For example, a text describing John Glenn’s first flight into space most likely would not be integrated with one describing his career in the United States Senate. Indeed, there may be multiple
Address correspondence to Christopher A. Kurby, Department of Psychology, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA. E-mail: ckurby@niu.edu

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cues that may signal the relatedness of previously read texts and some of these cues may provide a stronger source of integration than others. Little or no research, however, indicates which of these cues would be most important to facilitate integration across texts. Readers often use information from various sources to aid in interpreting a current story or text. For instance, low-knowledge readers can enhance their interpretation of the text when they are given a structured outline (Dee-Lucas & Larkin, 1995) and background texts (Kintsch & Franzke, 1995) that can be integrated with information from the current text. Readers also use information from multiple sources to build a coherent model of a little known historical event (Britt, Perfetti, Sandak, & Rouet, 1999; Catrambone, 2002; Wiley & Voss, 1999). Even clearly fictitious information from novels and movies can be integrated into students’ representation of historical events (Britt & Aglinskas, 2002; Seixas, 1994; Wineburg, 2000) as well as general factual knowledge (Marsh, Meade, & Roediger, 2003). The degree of integration is influenced by the structure of one’s representation of a prior text (Britt & Sommer, 2004), the type of overlapping material (Catrambone, 2002; Kim & Millis, in press), and the presence of support for comparison (e.g., Britt et al., 1999). Although it is clear that readers integrate information across multiple sources, the factors that mediate this integration are not well understood. As such, the goal of this study was to investigate the possible factors that influence inter-text integration. In particular, this study investigated the extent to which readers make use of information gained from a descriptive text to understand an ambiguous version of that text. A variation of the ambiguous text paradigm (Bransford & Johnson, 1972; Dooling & Lachman, 1971) was used in which participants read ambiguous texts that had a title vs. no title, and primer texts, which were encyclopediclike versions of the events referred to by the ambiguous texts. Experiment 1 consisted of a reanalysis of recall data from Wahlberg and Magliano (2004) and provided an assessment of integration between primer and ambiguous texts, and Experiment 2 consisted of a new experiment that investigated the influence of a related text on on-line reading, and off-line inter-textual anaphor resolution.

g. Specifically. Zwaan. Radvansky. animals. the event-indexing model (Magliano. see Zwaan & Radvansky [1998] for an extensive review). in press. In terms of the dynamic component. 1998).g. There is a hierarchy of importance of both static and dynamic dimensions within situation models. president has a meeting with a Panamanian revolutionary immediately before the Panama Revolution. 1998. Within the spatial–temporal framework. Magliano. which primarily involve inferred causal relationships (e. readers focus their attention during reading and structure their memories around the events that involve these elements and relations. readers monitor the entities that are within this framework such as people.. Of the dimensions specified by the event-indexing model. These events are structured around both static and dynamic dimensions (e. The event-indexing model assumes that narrative comprehension emerges upon the construction of a mental representation that reflects the underlying situation referenced in a text. and the stretch of time that the situation is in force. when a history text mentions that the U. This is the region of space that contains the situation..g. we drew on theories of discourse processing to provide a framework for the present study. protagonists. causality and intentionality). and abstract concepts (e. time. In terms of the static dimension.g. & Graeser. For instance. Zwaan & Radvanksy. 1998. & Copeland.S. According to the model. 1995) provided the theoretical framework for the current exploration of text integration. & Graesser. Langston. objects. The discovery of drift wood helped prevent a mutiny during Columbus’ first voyage to the new world). the reader will notice the meeting involves the two main protagonists in an official office in the United States a week before the revolution and how this meeting affected the occurrence of the revolution. readers monitor most closely .. A number of elements and relations may be involved in the structure of the situation model (e.. events may be joined by a collection of linking relations. space. Zwaan. event boundaries are defined and bounded by a spatial–temporal framework. As such. Zwaan & Radvansky.Top-Down and Bottom-Up Integration 337 Mechanisms of Text Integration It may be the case that the same factors that are involved in establishing coherent relations within a text also mediate betweentext integration.

between-text references to common situations should be more helpful in aiding integration than common people. continuities along situation dimensions such as causality and time account for more variance in within-text integration than shared entities. Furthermore. events are more integrated in memory to the extent that readers can infer a network of causal relationships (e. however. Zwaan. rather than when they are part of many situations and events. however. 1995).g. Kurby et al. 1997. Some evidence suggests that overlapping events may serve as a stronger cue for integration than overlap between entities or characters. For example.. RichScott & Taylor. evidence suggests that readers closely monitor the agents depicted in a text (Ozyurek & Trabasso. Magliano & Schleich. The relative importance of shared situation dimensions in guiding integration is. recognition for those objects was faster than when a single object was associated with multiple locations. indicates that readers closely monitor and index events with respect to their implied temporal relationships (e.. A.338 C.g. see van den Broek [1994] for an extensive review). 1995).g. there is likely a hierarchy of dimensional importance in the extent to which overlap in dimensions across texts mediates between-text integration. unclear. 2001. 1996). in press). A growing body of evidence. Magliano. Thus. 2000). when reading multiple texts on the same topic. . Also. & Grassser. the implied causal relationships between events (e. Magliano. Additionally. 1993). Texts may be integrated to the extent that they describe similar events that take place in the same spatial–temporal framework and/or describe the same entities. Readers do not devote resources to establishing a detailed representation of the spatial–temporal framework unless they have the explicit goal to do so or have extensive prior knowledge (Zwaan & van Oostendorp. places and things. Zwaan. This suggests a “situation bias” of text integration such that concepts will resonate more strongly with each other when they are part of the same situation or event.. Radvansky and Zacks (1991) found that when participants studied a list that associated multiple objects with a single location. as indicated by anaphoric referents (Zwaan. Just as there is a hierarchy of dimensional importance within a text. We argue here that the event-indexing model provides a framework for investigating factors that mediate text integration (see also Kim & Millis. & Graesser.

Top-Down and Bottom-Up Integration 339 Resonance and Evaluative Processes During Text Integration Two additional discourse processing models have proven useful in explaining how readers establish coherent relationships within a text. Gerrig. 1995.g. Shinjo. & Trabasso. 1998. top-down process of evaluating and interpreting active information. Myers & O’Brien. 1994).. Argument overlap across texts may indicate that the texts share entities (e. 1998).g. characters.g. such as shared entities. integration is an effortful. Long and Lea (2005) argued that it is not sufficient for explaining within-text integration. The degree to which the current information conceptually or semantically overlaps with information in long-term memory is one of the primary factors that influences intra-text integration and it was of primary interest in the current study. According to the Memory-based models. 1993. The amount of effort required in this process of evaluation may vary based on factors such as the causal distance of the activated knowledge to the current sentence (e. 1998). Myers. and “dumb” process by which conceptual or semantic associates of the current and immediately prior sentences are activated (e. Resonance is the bottomup. Although Memory-based processes of resonance have been well-established as a mechanism for the activation of knowledge (Albrecht & Myers. We believe that both resonance and search-after-meaning processes play a role in inter-text integration. Singer.g.. Albrecht & O’Brien. Albrecht & O’Brien.. Graesser. 1996. Neil Armstrong). They argued that readers search for meaning when evaluating the extent to which activated knowledge is related to the current sentence in order to determine how it is related in the unfolding situation model. Ratcliff. According to the search after meaning principle (Bartlett. at least to the extent that the arguments . or situations of related texts. & Greene. & Duffy. 1995. 1932. Information in a text currently being read can resonate (via conceptual overlap) with information from prior texts along a number of dimensions. Eagle) or characters (e. 1995.. Myers & O’Brien. 1987). McKoon. This impact of shared entities/characters and events/situations in aiding integration can be indicated by overlap of predicates and arguments from related texts. 1978). 1993. 1998. the process of resonance determines the activation of prior information that may be used to interpret the current sentence (Albrecht & Myers. data driven. Klin.

predicates. do indeed have the same referents. Bransford & Johnson.g. from readers without autism.g. After reading. Wiley & Rayner. Wahlberg and Magliano (2004) provided preliminary data that suggest previously read texts are used to understand a new text. Overlapping predicates may indicate that the texts are describing the same events/situations (e. 1972. If a reader is consciously aware that a current text is related to a prior text. “Columbus Discovers America)” or a non-informative title (e.. 2000) to investigate the ability of readers with and without autism to use multiple cues to background knowledge in order to comprehend ambiguous texts. Top-down processes. encyclopediclike descriptions of the events discussed in each ambiguous text. particularly when that text is relatively difficult to understand (e.g. Bransford & Johnson.” The presence of primer texts was varied such that before reading the ambiguous passages participants were presented with concrete.. The presence of a title only improved memory when a primer was not present. Zwaan. These interpretations often involved information from both the primer and ambiguous text. but the primer had no effect on .g. and arguments should cause resonance between concepts in the mental representations of texts.. A. This overlap of referents.. and Graesser (1995) used verbs as an indicator of events and found that participants listed verbs as related to each other depending on which situation dimension they shared. such as search-after-meaning.g. They used a variation of the ambiguous text paradigm (e. One potential cue for this evaluative process is a title. showed that the presence of a primer not only facilitated recall of event-related information. 1972). participants were asked to recall the ambiguous passages. then that understanding could guide the evaluation of knowledge that is activated from the prior text via bottom-up resonance mechanisms. it also facilitated the production of information that was an interpretation of the ambiguous text. Langston. may also guide the integration of texts. It is well established that a title can help a reader understand a text they are reading. landing and viewing). Kurby et al. Readers with autism recalled more event-related information when a primer was present.340 C. as well as concepts from general knowledge.. Recall. They presented participants with ambiguous passages describing historical events that were either preceded by an informative title (e. “Peaks and Valleys).

Experiment 1 Experiment 1 examined the relative importance of overlap of events and entities as cues for guiding the integration of text. This evidence suggests that readers without autism use relevant event-related material to interpret and comprehend new events currently being processed. We conducted a reanalysis of the Wahlberg and Magliano (2004) recall protocols for readers without autism after it became evident that much of the information produced by participants was an integration of both primer and ambiguous texts. TABLE 1 Example Scoring Template for Each Type of Proposition (Both. and Primer Only) for a Pair of Text Segments from the Two Texts Ambiguous text Primer text Flat familiar homeland now resembled a tiny rubber ball. Ambiguous Only. 1. They did have small windows to look out of into the vastness of space to view the round. earth and other objects as they traveled Predicate Argument 1 Argument 2 RESEMBLE or VIEW MOD MOD Homeland or Earth Ball Earth Ball or Round Rubber Blue-green Scoring Both: Ambiguous Primer Ambiguous: Ambiguous Primer Primer . we assessed the extent to which the overlap of events (predicates) and characters and entities (arguments) mediate the integration of related texts.Top-Down and Bottom-Up Integration 341 the production of interpreted information. whereas readers with autism may have difficulty with this integration process. It told that to those in the craft the Earth looked like a bluegreen rubber ball. Consider three participants’ recall of the primerambiguous sentence pair presented at the top of Table 1. bluegreen. Specifically.

then those events and entities common to the two texts should be recalled more frequently. If degree of overlap guides points of integration.” Also. 3. On their way to the moon they saw the earth and it looked like a blue and green marble. Experiment 1 examined the extent of integration in these recall protocols as well as three possible sources of integration: the overlap of (1) events (predicates. The Entity-Driven Hypothesis predicts that recall will be greater for arguments shared between each primer-ambiguous text pair than predicates shared between each primer-ambiguous text pair. The Entity-Driven Hypothesis assumes that the integration of related texts is driven by the overlap of characters and entities. 2. and characters (arguments. both hypotheses predict that . These include a replacement of “Earth” for “Homeland.” suggesting that the overlap of the situation was a factor for this participant in the integration of the texts. Earth” and “tiny rubber ball” into the phrase “blue-green rubber ball.” and an integration of the phrases “round. then the informative title condition should lead to more integrated recall protocols than the uninformative title condition. If the title provides expectations that can effectively guide the resolution of ambiguous referents. the relative impact of shared predicate and shared arguments can be assessed. Thus. and (3) the presence of a title. Because the re-analysis was conducted at the propositional constituent level. Similar blends can be seen in the other two participant examples. The first participant’s recall shows several points in which the primer sentence is used to disambiguate and elaborate on the corresponding sentence in the ambiguous text. A. Two hypotheses predict possible patterns of recall data from this re-analysis. notice that this participant replaced “resemble” with “looked like. The Situation-Driven Hypothesis assumes that the integration of related texts is driven by the overlap of events.342 C. (2) entities. blue-green. such as verbs). The place that was formally known as their flat home now resembled a small bluish green ball. Kurby et al. such as nouns and pronouns). The SituationDriven Hypothesis predicts that recall will be greater for predicates shared between each primer-ambiguous text pair than arguments shared between each text pair.

The corresponding ambiguous text presented the same historical event. however. For instance. Materials Participants read texts recounting four well-known historical events: the first Moon landing. the first flight of the Wright Brothers.Top-Down and Bottom-Up Integration 343 the information most recalled will be the shared constituents. Method Participants Fifty-three undergraduates in an introductory psychology class at Northern Illinois University participated for course credit. This was accomplished in three ways.g. while “go.g. For each topic.” and “begin” replaced primer action terms of “sail. Columbus’s discovery voyage to the Americas. The primer texts explicitly described the events in the form of short (average length 256 words) encyclopedia-style articles providing many details such as names and dates. Each ambiguous text had either an informative title that explicitly mentioned the main theme of the text (e. “The First Warning of the British Attack”).. Each primer text was preceded by an informative title that explicitly described the event that would be discussed in the text (e.. Finally.” “ride. “cramped quarters” and “companions” replaced primer referents for “spacecraft” and “astronauts” respectively.” “went. using intentionally vague and ambiguous language. For example. or the British troops were referred to as a storm in a story about Paul Revere. two types of texts were constructed: primer and ambiguous texts. First. averaging 172 words in length. the number and label of objects were vaguely presented and character names and dates were omitted. These ambiguous texts were also short. Second. the nouns and verbs were overly general forms that failed to add content. the predictions differ as to which constituent drives integration. “Columbus Discovers America”) or a non-informative title that did not provide . and Paul Revere’s famous ride.” and “lift off.” respectively. there were few modifiers and those present did not provide specific detailed content. many important events and entities were referred to using metaphorical language such as Columbus’s 3 ships were referred to as 3 sisters.

Title varied across text item pairs whereas constituent and source varied within text.. For the Table 1 example. noninformative) ×2 Constituent (predicate vs. More commonly. The Wahlberg and Magliano (2004) recall protocols analyzed here will be limited to those in which a primer text preceded . A. a single scoring template was constructed (Perfetti. BALL and ROUND).. the source of the main proposition was scored as both. the information from both texts was propositionalized (Bovair & Kieras. an exact match was rare. 1984). meaning from the ambiguous text only. because all constituents were mentioned in both texts.344 C. First. blue-green earth) was scored as primer. & Georgi. When both texts had a proposition that referred to the same state or event and shared propositional constituents. argument) ×3 Source (ambiguous vs. Kurby et al.. Design The design of the analysis was a 2 Title (informative vs. SOURCING.. primer vs. The ambiguous texts about Columbus and the first Moon landing were adopted from Bransford and Johnson (1972).g. All propositions from the primer text were merged into the propositional list for the ambiguous text. the main clause predicates and arguments were identified for all primer and ambiguous text sentences as shown in the ambiguous-primer sentence pair in Table 1. PROPOSITIONALIZATION. Britt. both) within-subjects design. Both sentences refer to common predicates (e. The source of constituents that occurred exclusively in the ambiguous text (e. “Peaks & Valleys”). any relevant information helpful in understanding the text (e. ambiguous. The source of constituents that occurred exclusively in the primer text (e.. the match was a specific synonym. that is.g.g. it was marked as both as shown in Table 1. RESEMBLE and VIEW) and arguments (e. AND SCORING To examine the role of inter-textual semantic overlap on textual integration.g. In order to get a measure of shared overlapping content..g. 1995). HOMELAND and EARTH) and (e. or primer). This template allowed us to determine the source of any constituent (both. meaning from the primer text only.g. rubber ball) was scored as ambiguous. Because the ambiguous text was purposely vague. both primer and ambiguous texts.

The first question focused on the extent of integration in the recall protocols. An informative title preceded each ambiguous text in the informative title condition and a non-informative title preceded each text in the non-informative title condition. INTEGRATION IN RECALL PROTOCOLS The degree of integration was determined by analyzing first the content and then the structure of the recall protocols. participants then read four ambiguous texts that they were told would sound a “little weird” but they should try to understand them as best they could. After reading the primer texts. The second question focused on the mechanism of integration by assessing whether the presence of a title and the degree of overlap of propositional constituents between the ambiguous and primer texts increased recall of the information from the ambiguous text. Participants were instructed to read and understand the texts because they would be asked questions about them later in the experiment. The entire recall protocol was classified as to . They were allowed to recall the passages in any order and were told that if they could not remember complete sentences to just write down as many ideas as possible. The analysis of content assessed the proportion of the recall that came from each source. They were then given the two primer texts as practice. After reading all four of the ambiguous passages. participants were given the first sentence of each passage on four separate sheets of paper and asked to write down as much as they could remember of the passage. we address two main questions. Results and Discussion In this re-analysis.Top-Down and Bottom-Up Integration 345 the ambiguous text and the participants were only those without autism. although they may be relevant later in the experiment. Procedure Participants read each text on a computer screen one paragraph at a time and advanced to the next paragraph by pressing the spacebar. Participants were told that the two texts described wellknown historical events and were to provide practice for reading on a computer.

The content for a recall may be balanced across sources. and the final from the Blended sentences to an Ambiguous only sentence.e. For example. only 5% were Primer Dominate and 2% were Ambiguous Dominate. the recall protocol shown in Table 2 has three focus switches: one from a Primer only sentence to an Ambiguous only sentence. 67% of information uniquely from ambiguous text). 67% of information uniquely from primer text). the content was classified into two types of propositional . MSE = . which was reliably different from no switches. MECHANISMS OF INTEGRATION In order to further examine the mechanisms of integration. Therefore. or Blended (i. Ambiguous only..05..61) sentences involved a focus switch from the previous sentence. the first half of the events could be from the ambiguous text whereas the second half of the events could be from the primer text. a balance of information from both texts). Of all recall protocols. Of these.. or Both (i. Primer Dominate (i. another from Ambiguous only to several Blended sentences. Kurby et al. To illustrate.. The source of each sentence was classified as Primer only. Then. A. the number of source switches for each recall was computed by counting the number of sentences in which a participant switched source focus from one source to another. whether its source was Ambiguous Dominate (i.97 (sd = 2. Most of the recall protocols (93%) were in fact an integration of material mentioned in both texts. 2.e. This was clearly not the case.34. p < .29) sentences where a switch could occur. This finding is surprising because the participants’ task was to recall only the ambiguous text and as such all recall protocols should have been Ambiguous Dominate. content from both texts) depending on its content. Across participants there were an average of 3. a second measure of integration assessed the structure of the recall protocols to determine the degree of integration at the sentence level.90. however. the structure may be unintegrated. a well-integrated recall would contain many switches between information from the ambiguous text with that from the primer text. which indicates that integration was common in the recall protocols.e. In contrast. t(52) = 10.346 C.e. Approximately half of the sentences switched focus (52%).07 (sd = 1. The analysis of structure assessed the degree of integration that occurred throughout the recall.

It told that to those in the craft the Earth looked like a blue-green rubber ball. Then a 2 (Title: informative vs. The passage said the people on Earth knew that there would be no life among the mountains and caverns. It spoke buttons being pushed and complex flying patterns being navigated.99) Both 24. It spoke of those famous words and also the fact that many important papers would be waiting. Ambiguous Only.86) Primer 7. Uniquely Identifiable Primer Text Terms are in Bold and Ambiguous Text Terms are Underlined Source Primer only Ambiguous only Blended Blended Blended Ambiguous only Recall Sentences It sounded as though it was looking from the perspective of Neil Armstrong. The ANOVA revealed a significant main effect of Source such that items mentioned in both texts was recalled better than information mentioned only in the ambiguous TABLE 3 Experiment 1: Mean (Percentage) Recall and Standard Deviations for Constituent X Source Source Constituent Predicate Argument Ambiguous 10.736 (1. non-informative) ×2 (Constituent: predicate vs.972 (1.085 (.953 (.811 (1. Each Source of Each Sentence was Determined as Either: Primer Only. constituents (predicates and arguments) and the source of these constituents (ambiguous and primer vs.396 (. Title was not significant nor did it participate in any significant interactions so Title was collapsed for the presentation of the means in Table 3.92) 21.59) . both ambiguous and primer) within-subjects ANOVA was conducted on the proportion of each propositional constituent recalled (predicate vs. argument). argument) ×3 (Source: ambiguous vs. The passage ended by saying the three astronauts knew that the flight was only half the work. primer vs.95) 10. This proportion controlled for the differing amount of predicates and arguments that can be shared between texts. or Blended.01) 7. both).Top-Down and Bottom-Up Integration 347 TABLE 2 Example Focus Switches from a Participant’s Recall.

respectively. In fact. First. There was also a main effect of Constituent such that predicates were better recalled than arguments with means of 14. the information was not chunked segments from single texts but rather integrated across the temporal retelling of the story.001. respectively. Finally.001. Kurby et al. 52) = 69. 104) = 10. Tukey’s post-hoc tests confirmed that predicates were recalled better than arguments for items from both texts but there was no difference between predicates and arguments for ambiguous only and primer only information.39. p < . F(1. This integration was driven more by the overlap of predicates (events) than arguments (entities).20. MSE = 11. A. p < .57.10. Furthermore. participants recalled more information mentioned in both texts than by each individual text. F(2. with means of 23. . participants frequently switched the source throughout the recall showing that the blends were truly blends. events and situations appear to drive this integration process as predicted by the Situation-Driven Hypothesis. p < . F(2.55. This support for integration is more profound given the instructions to recall only the ambiguous text. MSE = 103. When texts share events.67. or primer texts. and 13. the presence of title had no effect on recall. participants rarely recalled information from only a single text. As was expected based on the findings of Wahlberg and Magliano (2004). the time between presentation of the primer and ambiguous texts.348 C. Across all measures.40. and the cover story of the primer as practice for the procedure.64.73. We found that overlapping events tended to be recalled more frequently than overlapping entities. 104) = 72. This suggests that predicates are more important to integrating information across sources. 10. The analysis to clarify the mechanism of this integration suggested that the resonance between text constituents was strong enough to reduce separation of the texts themselves creating blended recall protocols. MSE = 2. we found evidence of integration. and 7. they are more likely to be integrated than when they merely share entities. Tukey’s post-hoc tests confirmed that recall for the constituents sourced both was greater than recall for the ambiguous and primer sources. Finally.42. there was a significant Source X Constituent interaction such that the advantage for predicates was limited to those constituents that occurred in both texts. That is.52. the most frequently recalled items were those mentioned in both texts. Thus. almost all of the recalls were blends of information from the two texts. Second.001.

1972). we varied the degree to which the primer and ambiguous texts overlapped. By providing a primer before reading an ambiguous text. have been shown to be sensitive to integration processes among related texts.g. We also believe that bottom-up processes are involved in text integration. As such. the focus was not on the effect of entities vs. Integration was assessed by both an on-line and an off-line measure. all of the critical sentences shared underlying situations. The primer may have served to activate a relevant subset of knowledge that could then be used to comprehend the ambiguous texts in a top-down fashion. “Does what I’m reading make sense?” The focus of this experiment was to assess the impact of this top-down process in an off-line assessment of integration. The on-line measure. we manipulated whether the primer passage was read before or after the ambiguous passage. comprehension of the ambiguous text can proceed in a top-down conceptually driven process (e. The propositional and situation overlap sentences represent a high degree of overlap. reading times. Disambiguation of entities and events can occur while reading the ambiguous text. Also. The primer information can then be used online in an evaluation process that may be akin to. Bransford & Johnson. We varied whether the critical sentences shared these situations on both a propositional and situation level or on a situation level only. events. Thus. but rather the role of the top-down evaluation process and bottom-up resonance during text integration. Millis and Erdman (1998) found that participants read a news story faster after reading a related story than participants who did not read the prior stories. overlap of situations between the texts may activate primer information. we further investigated the role of both top-down and bottom-up processes during text integration. Because we wanted to promote the integration of these texts. strongly suggest that top-down processes are not active during text integration because the presence of a primer may attenuate this effect.Top-Down and Bottom-Up Integration 349 This does not. For example. however. Thus. In Experiment 2.. Experiment 2 Experiment 2 was conducted to provide a better assessment of the influence of top-down processing on availability after comprehension. and the situation-only .

as shown in Table 4. Kurby et al. A truly integrated representation would have events that refer to the same situation connected closely together. Neil Armstrong’s famous quote was heard by all.Michael Collins ulated buttons in the operated the craft. controls of the ship. namely anaphor resolution for noun phrases.” As can be seen here. the Eagle was on the moon. the vessel With a thud.The Saturn V escaped valed the force of nathe gravitational ture. there is a direct mapping of events and entities between the propositional and situation overlap sentences and the critical sentences. in the . Ambiguous Target Sentence 1 2 3 4 5 6 A chosen few began the Three astronauts were task. Michael Collins piloted the ship. A. With a thud. Flat familiar homeland The Earth looked like a basketball. “The Earth was a round orb. The first then pro. overlap sentences represent a moderate to low degree of overlap.” and the situation-only overlap sentence was. For example. for the critical ambiguous sentence. As such these different types of overlap should cause varying degrees of resonance. whereas the situation-only overlap sentences shared implied events with the critical sentences. TABLE 4 Ambiguous Version of the 6 Target Overlap Event with the Corresponding Primer Sentences for the Space Text Propositional and Situation Overlap (Primer text) Situation-only Overlap (Primer text) Three astronauts won the right to go.” the propositional and situation overlap sentence was. For example. declaration.Neil Armstrong said claimed a memorable his famous quote.350 C. Before they knew it. In Experiment 2 we wanted a naturalistic measure of integration of the sort that students and news readers would utilize in their normal activities. The Saturn V made it into the Earth’s upper atmosphere. resembled a rubber ball. picked for the challenge. “The Earth looked like a basketball. arrived on the moon. One companion manip. The mighty creation ri. the Eagle reached its destination. “Flat familiar homeland resembled a rubber ball. pull of the earth. The Earth was a round orb.

The order of the presentation of the ambiguous and primer passages. reflects precisely the skill that students should possess when reading about a topic after listening to their teacher lecture on the topic. In the test phase of this experiment. then they should be inaccurate or very slow at stating these nouns are co-referential. then they should be able to accurately state that homeland and Earth refer to the same entity. If the reader integrated these sentences in memory. That is. should not matter..g. that is. familiar homeland).Top-Down and Bottom-Up Integration 351 primer and ambiguous sentences in Table 1 both refer to the same situation.. Top-down and bottom-up processes of integration may have differing influences on the accuracy of making the anaphor resolution judgments. and a final group read only the ambiguous text (ambiguous-only) serving as a control.e. Earth) referred to a word or phrase in the ambiguous text (e.. the more . As mentioned earlier the degree of semantic overlap between the primer and ambiguous texts was also varied such that critical sentences shared both propositional and situation information (propositional/situation overlap) or shared only situation information (situation-only overlap). integration will be assessed by an anaphor resolution task in which two noun phrases are presented and participants have to state whether they refer to the same entity. the ambiguous-only condition).e. there will be the same degree of resonance between the anaphor in the ambiguous passages and its referent in the primer passages at the time of making the resolution judgment. Text order was varied such that one group read the primer text first followed by the ambiguous text (primer-first). however. regardless of the order that the passages were read. There should also be an effect of degree of overlap. Thus. If the reader did not integrate these two representations. Experiment 2 had an acquisition phase and a test phase. This task. participants read primer-ambiguous text pairs one sentence at a time. participants made speeded anaphor resolution judgments in which they had to decide if a word or phrase from the primer text (e. the ambiguous-first and primer-first conditions) than when it is absent (i. a second group read the ambiguous text followed by the primer text (ambiguous-first).g. If bottom-up processes are the only influence on integration then there will be an effect of text order such that accuracy should be better when the primer is present (i. for example.. In the acquisition phase.

a strong bottom-up position assumes that the degree of overlap would mediate reading times. This model predicts that for the primer-first condition both the propositional/situation and situation-only conditions will be greater than the ambiguous-only condition. Thus.352 C. If both top-down and bottom-up processes are involved. if top-down processes are the only influence on integration. 2005). integration depends on resonance through a higher degree of overlap. then the degree of overlap is expected to interact with text order. For the information to aid in the integration process. That is. primer second or primer absent conditions).. both the bottom-up and top-down positions assume an order effect. In this mixed model of integration. Thus. That is. A strong top-down position may assume that the degree of overlap will not have an effect. bottom-up processes of integration may only occur if there is a high degree of resonance between text information (i. overlap between events is sufficient. the propositional/situation overlap condition should lead to better recall than the situation-only overlap condition. overlap the stronger the resonance between texts. top-down processes may influence integration.e. which should not differ from the ambiguous-first condition.. Evaluation processes that compare and incorporate activated prior knowledge with the information in the current sentence to construct a more elaborated situation model. reading times for . it must be available during the reading of the ambiguous passage. propositional and situation overlap). When the primer text precedes the ambiguous text. As long as readers are engaged in this evaluative process. and this occurs only when the primer is read first. On the other hand. the propositional/situation overlap condition will be greater than the ambiguous-only condition whereas the situation-only condition will be equal to the ambiguous-only condition.e. the critical sentences will be read faster when the primer precedes the ambiguous passage than when it does not (i. In terms of reading times. and for the ambiguous-first condition. In contrast. A. Kurby et al. then the primer-first condition should be greater than the ambiguous-only condition. the integration will be facilitated by a conceptually driven process by which ambiguous information would be evaluated on-line in a process akin to “Does this make sense?” (Long & Lea. When the primer text follows the ambiguous text.

or situation overlap only (situation-only). Method Participants Ninety-three undergraduates in an introductory psychology class at Northern Illinois University participated for course credit. Finally.Top-Down and Bottom-Up Integration 353 sentences with both situational and propositional overlap will be faster than situational overlap. “Flat familiar homeland” was transformed to be “the Earth. the predicate “resembled” in the ambiguous target sentence was changed to be “was” in the situation-only overlap sentence rather than “looked like” in the propositional/situation sentence. For instance. All ambiguous sentences were identical for all . The subject noun phrase was identical for both the propositional/situation and situation-only overlap sentences. but no other phrases were identical. For instance. Materials TEXTS The primer-ambiguous text pairs from Experiment 1 were modified such that the information overlapped on only six target sentences.” The situation-only overlap sentences described the same situation implied in the ambiguous sentence by selecting a predicate that did not directly map onto the predicate in the ambiguous sentence. The propositional/situation overlap sentences were created by substituting disambiguating synonyms for all ambiguous constituents. the ambiguous noun phrase. Two versions of overlapping primer sentences were constructed for each of the six ambiguous target sentences such that they shared either propositional and situation overlap (propositional/situation). These six target events were selected to ensure that they were well-distributed temporally across the story. the ambiguous version of the target sentence was transformed into a subject-verb-object syntactic structure as shown in the first column of Table 4. The texts were then modified to ensure that the agents of the target sentence were not mentioned anywhere else in the text. Examples of the corresponding primer sentences are provided in Table 4.

For example. Procedure There were two phases to the experiment. For example. The assignment of participants to order and overlap conditions was based on a 4 × 4 Latin Square such that each text pair order and target sentence occurred in all four conditions an equal number of times across participants. Design The design of the experiment was a 3 Order (primer-first vs. Six foil items per text were also created to balance the number of no responses. participants would see the ambiguous text referent “mighty creation” and then they would see the primer text referent “Saturn V. “Press the spacebar when you are ready to read the next pair of texts. Kurby et al. situation-only) design. A. Only the 6 overlap sentences for the primer texts were modified. had propositional/situation overlap. participants were . For each text. and half had situation overlap only.” After pressing the spacebar. The foil items were item pairs from the texts that did not refer to the same person or thing (e. the “Flat familiar homeland” and “the Earth” both refer to the same entity and that mapping is required for integration to occur. the subject noun phrases for the 6 overlap sentences were tested in a speeded judgment test.. adventure—United States). During the acquisition phase. ANAPHOR RESOLUTION TEST An anaphor resolution test was created to determine whether participants correctly mapped the co-references between texts.g. Order was a betweensubjects variable. participants read each text one sentence at a time by pressing the spacebar to advance to the next sentence. Each pair was announced by a screen that said. ambiguous-first vs. ambiguous-only) × 2 Overlap (propositional/situation vs.” The overlap items for the Moon Landing text are the underlined elements in Table 4. Overlap varied within-text such that half of the target sentences. selected randomly.354 C. They first read a practice text and then read each pair of primerambiguous texts. conditions.

70) Reading Time 305.80 (0. Reading Times (per Syllable) for Target Ambiguous Sentences. participants completed the anaphor resolution test.14) Situation-only 0. This test presented noun phrase pairs from the two texts and asked participants to decide whether they referred to the same person or thing. one set at a time. To assess the role of top-down and bottom-up processes a series of planned t-tests were conducted that tested each condition against the ambiguous-only (control) condition.14) 246.. Text 1 or Text 2). In the testing phase of the experiment.17) Primer-First Propositional/ situation 0. After participants finished reading each text pair.02 (12. in which they were asked to consider each text pair.71 (16.78) Propositional/ situation 0.02) 302.e.81 (0. they then began the testing phase of the experiment. Results and Discussion Table 5 presents the means and standard errors for the reading times and anaphor resolution accuracies for each condition.96) 250.15) 312. For example. This procedure was followed by each of the four primer-ambiguous text pairs. The control TABLE 5 Average Accuracies for Anaphor Resolution. Each prime was shown for 450 milliseconds and participants were asked to decide as fast and as accurately as possible.41) . They were instructed to press the “j” key for “yes” responses and the “f” key for “no” responses.73 (0.17 (16.12 (15. Participants first received eight practice items to familiarize themselves with the task.72 (15.12) Situation-only Accuracy 0.Top-Down and Bottom-Up Integration 355 presented with a non-informative title of the text they were about to read (i.77 (0.81 (0. participants were given the topic of the text or pair of texts. Then they were given the experimental trials. and Standard Errors (in Parentheses) Amb-First Amb-Only (control) 0.

68 and situation-only t(61) = 0. These tests also revealed that for the ambiguous-first group the propositional/situation overlap condition was greater than the control.41. t(60) = 1. READING TIME Average per syllable reading time greater than three standard deviations from the grand mean were transformed to the value at three standard deviations from the mean (1. In contrast. both top-down and bottom-up processes .002 and situationonly t(60) = 2.03. p = .005). t(61) = 2.01. top-down availability is required. p = .90).26. Namely. overlap conditions were greater than the control.18. neither ambiguousfirst group was significantly different from the reading times of the ambiguous-only group (propositional/situation t(61) = 0. A. The results provide evidence for a mixed model of text integration. t(61) = 1. A series of planned t-tests were conducted that tested each condition against the ambiguous-only (control) condition. p = .9% of the data). ACCURACY ANAPHOR RESOLUTION TEST The accuracy of identifying co-referential elements was used to determine the role of top-down and bottom-up processes in integration. These tests support the mixed model and suggest that a strong degree of resonance is needed for bottom-up processes to facilitate integration. p = .27. there will be facilitation. The tests revealed that for the primer-first group both the propositional/situation.99.13. t(60) = 2.93.11. p = . These data suggest that participants were using the information contained in the primer text in order to understand the ambiguous text. p = . Kurby et al. group average was calculated by collapsing the overlap conditions in the ambiguous-only condition because that group did not actually read any primer texts. whereas the situation-only condition was not.356 C.05. A priori contrasts found that the reading time for both primer-first conditions were significantly different than the ambiguous-only group (propositional/situation t(60) = 3. Then each of the four conditions were compared to this control condition. and situation-only. These data suggest that as long as there is an opportunity for top-down processing and some level of overlap between sentences. p = .53. p= . otherwise.

There is some controversy. On the other hand. Britt et al. with respect to whether integration is mediated by bottom-up or top-down processes (Long & Lea. lectures) in order to construct an understanding of a larger event. Catrambone. top-down availability is required to integrate text information. Graesser. 1999).. 2002. relatively little is known about the mechanisms that mediate integrative processes. assume that bottom-up mechanisms make information available for integration. We adopted the perspective that the same factors that mediate within-text integration are also involved when integrating information across texts.. . This on-line processing then had an effect on the memory representation of those texts after the fact. et al. namely entities and dynamic events. The analysis revealed.g. Although there is a growing body of research that suggests that readers do routinely integrate information across texts (e.. which may then be sufficient to promote integration.g. 1994). The event-indexing model helped specify dimensions that could potentially overlap across texts. General Discussion Students must often integrate information from multiple sources (e. Finally. integration may ultimately require top-down processes. however. that there must be a high amount of resonance between texts for bottom-up integration processes to occur. this present study was motivated by theories of text comprehension. such as the resonance model. 2005).Top-Down and Bottom-Up Integration 357 contributed to the integration process. multiple texts. Therefore.g. the enhanced anaphor resolution accuracy when the primer was present supports a role of bottom-up resonance. 1999. but by no means restricted to it. top-down processes may be particularly important when there is moderate to low overlap between texts. As such. in press.. This is particularly the case in the domain of history. Long & Lea. it may be the case that both top-down and bottom-up processes mediate integration (e. Kim & Millis. First. Otherwise. Memory-based models. such as those assumed by the search for meaning principle (Bartlett. Wiley & Voss. The facilitated reading times for the primer-first group suggests that participants were using primer information in a top-down fashion in order to disambiguate ambiguous information. 2005). 1932. however..

integration is common and is primarily driven by predicates. bottom-up processes. even when there is no explicit instruction to do so. These data strongly suggest that participants integrated information from a primer text to aid in the interpreting of an ambiguous text.358 C. but shared events between texts that facilitates their integration. It can be assumed that texts that describe the same events will use conceptually similar predicates. the recall data from Experiment 1 proved the strongest source of evidence for text integration. we found support for the Situation-Driven Hypothesis in that the predicates of information mentioned in both texts were recalled better than the arguments. With respect to off-line data. In terms of content and structure. The anaphor resolution data from Experiment 2 most strongly support the conclusion that both top-down and bottom-up mechanisms influence integration across texts. the critical sentences were read faster in Experiment 2 when the primer passage preceded the ambiguous passage. and in particular the target sentences. It is important to note that it is not shared predicates. 2000 for similar findings). In a first step toward understanding the mechanism of integration. First. The reading time data from Experiment 2 suggested that top-down integration in that critical target sentences were read faster when the primer was read first. This strongly suggests that the information from the primer passage was available when reading the ambiguous passage. the recall protocols were clearly integrated. Both on-line and off-line data support this claim. or both. Thus. An important goal of this study was to assess whether intertext integration was mediated by top-down processes. there is strong evidence that readers do indeed integrate texts. When the primer text was presented first. but rather that it is less important than shared events. participants were more accurate at judging two nouns as co-referential than the group given only the . The majority of recall protocols were a blend of information from both the ambiguous text and the primer text and more than half of the sentences switched the focus of content from the immediately prior sentence. Kurby et al. regardless of whether or not there was propositional overlap (see Wiley & Rayner. regardless of degree of overlap. A. With respect to on-line data. per se. This is not to say that shared entities will not have an influence on text integration.

Acquiring knowledge in school is a series of demands for integration. both propositional and situational overlap). source information and situational dimensions are cues that students can use to improve integration. . without the possibility for top-down influence. or at least built on. Our finding that the degree of overlap between texts increases integration is consistent with other research results. Kim and Millis (in press) presented participants pairs of “news updates” that overlapped on either three situational dimensions (protagonist. Thus. class lectures comment on and supplement the information in the textbook. When the ambiguous text was read first. even minimal overlap facilitated integration. Occasionally the teacher or author of a text will directly reactivate that information for the student. This suggests that students can make use of situational overlap or prior detailed knowledge to aid them in this co-activation and integration process. they must first have them co-active. Thus. Similarly. participants required a high degree of situational overlap. When the detailed disambiguating information was provided first. In order for students to integrate two texts. participants were only more accurate in making anaphor judgments when there was strong conceptual overlap (i. a higher degree of overlap is required to activate the information from the ambiguous text in order to disambiguate it.Top-Down and Bottom-Up Integration 359 ambiguous text.e. This supports a top-down influence. The results have educational implications. space. In school content areas. They found that overlap led to improved integration. For example. but more often the student must accomplish this task without assistance.. This suggests an important role of bottom-up information in the integration process. The current experiments show that college students do integrate without instruction and that both the type and degree of overlap influence this integration process. When the disambiguating information comes after the ambiguous text. subsequent knowledge. Kim and Millis (in press) also found that two texts with the same source were more highly integrated than the same texts with different or no sources. Students can be directly taught about these situational dimensions and given practice monitoring them across texts. and causality) or no overlap. the material learned in one lesson may be required knowledge for.

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