Discourse comprehension

Arthur C. Graesser*, Keith K. Millis, Rolf A. Zwaan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

522 Citations (Scopus)


The field of discourse processing has dissected many of the levels of representation that are constructed when individuals read or listen to connected discourse. These levels include the surface code, the propositional textbase, the referential situation model, the communication context, and the discourse genre. Discourse psychologists have developed models that specify how these levels are mentally represented and how they are dynamically built during comprehension. This chapter focuses on the meaning representations that are constructed when adults read written text, such as literary stories, technical expository text, and experimenter-generated "textoids." Recent psychological models have attempted to account for the identification of referents of referring expressions (e.g. which person in the text does she refer to), the connection of explicit text segments, the establishment of local and global coherence, and the encoding of knowledge-based inferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-189
Number of pages27
JournalAnnual Review of Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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