Updating situation models

J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2004 Jan;30(1):283-8; discussion 289-91. doi: 10.1037/0278-7393.30.1.283.


The authors examined how situation models are updated during text comprehension. If comprehenders keep track of the evolving situation, they should update their models such that the most current information, the here and now, is more available than outdated information. Contrary to this updating hypothesis, E. J. O'Brien, M. L. Rizzella, J. E. Albrecht, and J. G. Halleran (1998) obtained results suggesting that outdated or incorrect information may still influence the comprehension process. The authors of the current study demonstrate that the nature of E. J. O'Brien et al.'s materials were the likely cause of this pattern of results. Hence, the current authors constructed materials that circumvent identified confounds and in a reading-time experiment obtained evidence supporting the here-and-now hypothesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cognition*
  • Humans
  • Reading
  • Semantics*