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Title: Understanding Causal Coherence Relations
Written By: Gerben Mulder

Coherence relations play a crucial role in text understanding. This has
long been recognized in both text linguistics and discourse processing. The
experimental research reported in this dissertation focuses on the
cognitive processes and representations involved in the understanding of
causal coherence relation in non-narrative text.

The research confirms the basic claim in text linguistic theories that
causal coherence relations are part of the meaning representation readers
construct on the basis of the text. More specifically, the research shows
that causal coherence relations are represented at the level of the
situation model. Three major results contribute to this conclusion. First,
the presence of connectives influences an inferential process that is
involved in the construction of the situation model. Second, for explicit
causal relations (marked with a connective) a recognition experiment
provides evidence for a situational representation of causal relations, but
not for other levels of representation. Third, experimental results
indicate that readers’ knowledge of text structure enables them to form
text structural expectations that guide the interpretation of text in a
top-down manner. For these reasons, understanding causal coherence
relations can be characterized as a process in which the reader integrates
explicit text and background knowledge to form a situational representation
of the relation.

This dissertation provides insight in the psychological status of causal
coherence relations. The research combines ideas from text linguistics and
discourse processing. It should therefore be of interest to researchers
working in either of these fields.

Publication Year: 2008
Publisher: Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke (LOT)
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BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
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Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9789078328452
Pages: 165
Prices: Europe EURO 19.27