Long-Term Prose Retention: Is an Organizational Schema Sufficient?

Mark A. Mcdaniel, Mary Louise E. Kerwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In two experiments we examined the effects of schematic and proposition-specific processing on long-term (1 week) story memory. Subjects read a passage in which letters were deleted from the words contained in some of the idea units in the story, and subjects were instructed to adopt a particular perspective while reading the story. We assumed that the letter-deletion task and the instructions to adopt a perspective would induce proposition-specific and schema-related processing, respectively. In Experiment 1, for both immediate and delayed tests, recall of idea units was found to be an additive function of an idea’s importance to the encoding perspective and the letter deletion task. Recognition was also enhanced by the letter deletion task, but there were no differences as a function of idea unit importance. In Experiment 2, using a different story, a similar pattern emerged in delayed recall and recognition. These results suggest that both proposition-specific and schema-related processing are important for long-term retention of narrative prose.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-252
Number of pages16
JournalDiscourse Processes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 7 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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