Readers recruit information from both general world knowledge and episodic memory during reading comprehension. The present experiment used eye tracking to investigate the time-course of how these two sources of memory interact. Participants read passages describing scenarios in which an actor performs a role that was either scriptually appropriate or inappropriate. Half the passages containing the inappropriate role-filler were preceded by an episodic justification for this scriptural violation. Using the same paradigm, Cook and Myers (2004) found context had an early influence on the integration of the role-filler, but world knowledge showed a later effect in the post-target region. The present experiment expands upon these results by adding a backgrounding section between the episodic justification and the role-filler that reduces the saliency of the episodic information. Evidence of integration difficulties were observed in both early and late processing measures. These results appear to favor a two-stage model of processing: the first stage links incoming information with the contents of active memory; the second stage evaluates the link between the old and new information.
Mumper, Micah L., "The Role of World Knowledge and Episodic Memory in Scripted Narratives" (2013). Psychology Honors Projects. Paper 32.
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