This book presents a new theoretical framework -- what Gernsbacher calls the Structure Building Framework -- for understanding language comprehension in particular, and cognitive processing in general. According to this framework, the goal in comprehending both linguistic and nonlinguistic materials is to build a coherent mental representation or "structure" of the information being comprehended. As such, the underlying processes and mechanisms of structure building are viewed as general, cognitive processes and mechanisms. The strength of the volume lies in its empirical detail: a thorough literature review and solid original data.
"A model of how monographs should be written, the book summarizes the author's research of the past decade in a clear, gender-fair, and jargon-free manner….With a fast-paced, friendly style and the use of the structure-building analogy referred to in the title, Gernsbacher's text proves that experimental psychology need not be boring to be informative….makes a substantive contribution to the psychology of language….The effort is well worth reading."
—American Journal of Psychology
"Gernsbacher's thesis…is well argued and well supported by the data provided, and most undergraduate readers, especially those with some background in cognitive psychology, will find the going quite easy…With books on this topic appearing frequently, any new books need to offer something special to deserve attention. This one…comes very close to meeting that standard."
Contents: Introduction. The Process of Laying a Foundation. The Processes of Mapping and Shifting. The Mechanisms of Suppression and Enhancement. Individual Differences in Structure Building. Conclusions.