The effect of exposure to coherence relations on its processing and comprehension: Exploring Chilean primary school students’ performance

Romualdo Ibáñez Orellana, Fernando Moncada Nahuelquín, Andrea Santana Covarrubias


Previous corpus-based studies (Ibáñez, Moncada & Cárcamo, 2019) have identified the most and the least frequent coherence relations in Chilean primary school textbooks. Based on these findings, in this study, we explored the effect of exposure to coherence relations on their processing and comprehension. We expected the most frequent coherence relations in school textbooks to be more easily processed and better comprehended than the least frequent ones. Our expectation is explained by integrating the Language Experience (LE) hypothesis (Nippold & Taylor, 2002) and the Schematic Structural Expectations (SSE) hypothesis (Mulder, 2008). A self-paced reading experiment with a within-subjects design and cumulative window paradigm was carried out. One hundred and thirty-eight participants (12-14 years old), attending Chilean schools participated in the experiment. Each of them read 30 experimental items in two different sessions. Results revealed, in the first place, low levels of reading comprehension achievement. General results also showed that, although participants read the most frequent coherence relations slower than the least frequent ones, they comprehended them better. Analysis showed different patterns depending on the subject, which demonstrated that our expectations were partially fulfilled.

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