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Avoiding Miscomprehension: A Metacognitive Perspective for how Readers Identify and Overcome Comprehension Failure

Norberg, Kole A. (2022) Avoiding Miscomprehension: A Metacognitive Perspective for how Readers Identify and Overcome Comprehension Failure. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Successful reading comprehension is not a guarantee, even for highly skilled readers. When comprehension fails, the ability of the reader to recognize the failure may be critical to avoiding miscomprehension (i.e., false confidence in an inaccurate text representation) and to taking steps to improve comprehension. Generally, people learn the most when they study partially-learned, as opposed to well-learned or completely-unlearned, content (i.e., Region of Proximal Learning; Metcalfe & Kornell, 2003). However, this requires the learner both to identify the difficulty level of the material (monitor learning) and to select the proximal material (control). Across two experiments, the current study assessed the interactive effects of monitoring and control in a reading context. Experiment 1a confirmed that readers do make greater gains when reading material of a moderate difficulty level, but Experiments 1b and 1c suggested that poor monitoring is not the reason that readers do not always select this material; rather, readers intentionally selected the hardest material. Although monitoring accuracy was not predictive of reader selections, readers were overconfident in their comprehension across Experiments. Experiment 2 tested the use of an ease-of-process heuristic during comprehension monitoring. Readers were especially overconfident in their comprehension when a text seemed easier to process, in part because they were less likely to attend to difficulties (unfamiliar words) in the text. Texts that “feel” simpler engender shallower processing, which can lead to overconfidence in comprehension. Thus, readers struggle with both comprehension monitoring and metacognitive control, but whereas errors in monitoring appear to be based on incompatibility of the text with the applied heuristic, errors in control may be rooted in the reader’s beliefs about learning.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Norberg, Kole A.kan106@pitt.edukan1060000-0001-7620-0680
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFraundorf, Scott H.sfraundo@pitt.edusfraundo0000-0002-0738-476X
Committee MemberPerfetti, Charlesperfetti@pitt.eduperfetti0000-0002-0211-8518
Committee MemberKucan, Lindalkucan@pitt.edulkucan
Committee MemberRottman, Benjamin M.rottman@pitt.edurottman0000-0002-4718-3970
Date: 29 June 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 31 March 2022
Approval Date: 29 June 2022
Submission Date: 7 April 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 188
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Reading comprehension, Metacomprehension, Metacognitive Control
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2022 16:50
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2022 16:50

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