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Comprehension as affected by structure of problem representation

Comprehension as affected by structure of problem representation

Memory and Cognition 4(3): 249-255

A problem-like branching system describing what prizes (A through F) were awarded for particular outcomes of a tournament of games among three teams was presented to 200 subjects as either a verbal list with "go to" structure (Jump), a shortened verbal list (Short-Jump), nested verbal paragraphs with "if ... then..., else" structure (Nest), a matrix table (Example), or as diagrammatic representations of each of these. In tests of comprehension, the overall performance increased from lowest to highest as follows: Jump < Short-Jump ≃ Nest < Example, and this order was particularly strong for performance on complex questions relative to less complex questions. Jump and Short-Jump performance was relatively higher with diagrams and Example was lower with diagrams. Implications for a theory of problem representation and for development of computer programming languages were discussed.

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Accession: 052269510

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 21287030

DOI: 10.3758/BF03213171

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