What is text understanding?
It is the dynamic process of constructing coherent representations and inferences at multiple levels of text and context, within the bottleneck of a limited-capacity working memory.
The field of text and discourse has advanced to the point where researchers have developed sophisticated models of comprehension, and identified the particular assumptions that underlie comprehension mechanisms in precise analytical or mathematical detail. The models offer a priori predictions about thought and behavior, not merely ad hoc descriptions of data. Indeed, the field has evolved to a mature science.
The contributors to this volume collectively cover the major models of comprehension in the field of text and discourse. Other books are either narrow -- covering only a single theoretical framework -- or do not focus on systematic modeling efforts. In addition, this book focuses on deep levels of understanding rather than language codes, syntax, and other shallower levels of text analysis. As such, it provides readers with up-to-date information on current psychological models specified in quantitative or analytical detail.
"As an introduction to various models of discourse understanding, this book is without peer...an ideal choice for use in an upper-level or graduate-level seminar in text comprehension, or for a researcher wanting a current overview of the field....I know of no other book which provides such breadth of theoretical coverage. For those new to the field, or those interested in a cogent summary of current work in discourse understanding, this book will be most valuable."
"This book has the merit of bringing together a set of diverse approaches to text understanding. The focus is on models that have developed sophisticated quantitative methods to describe how propositional information from texts is memorized and recalled. These models offer interesting simulations of human encoding and retrieval of text information..."
—American Journal of Psychology