Effects of Inference Necessity and Reading Goal on Children's Inferential Generation

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This study examined inferential processing during reading. Adults and 3rd, 5th, and 8th graders read stories implying a consequence and answered questions. Some of the inferences were more necessary than others for comprehension according to T. Trabasso and P. van den Broek's (1985) causal criteria, and the readers engaged in either superficial or integrative reading. Results showed that elaborative inferences were not as likely to be generated as those more necessary for comprehension. The necessity manipulation also produced a similar pattern of responding among the 4 groups, suggesting that even the young children were sensitive to the causal criteria. In addition, the integrative reading condition prompted a general slowdown for the 2 younger groups, whereas the 2 older groups were not as affected by reading condition. This pattern was interpreted in terms of differences in attentional demands and working memory capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-357
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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