Comprehending conflicting science-related texts: graphs as plausibility cues

  • When reading conflicting science-related texts, readers may attend to cues which allow them to assess plausibility. One such plausibility cue is the use of graphs in the texts, which are regarded as typical of ‘hard science’. The goal of our study was to investigate the effects of the presence of graphs on the perceived plausibility and situation model strength for conflicting science-related texts, while including the influence of readers’ domain knowledge and their knowledge about scientific visualization conventions as potential moderators of these effects. In an experiment mimicking web-based informal learning, 77 university students read texts on controversial scientific issues which were presented with either graphs or tables. Perceived plausibility and situation model strength for each text were assessed immediately after reading; reader variables were assessed several weeks prior to the experiment proper. The results suggest that graphs can indeed serve as plausibility cues and thus boost situation model strength for texts which contain them. This effect was mediated by the perceived plausibility of the information in the texts with graphs. However, whether readers use graphs as plausibility cues in texts with conflicting information seems to depend also on their amount of experience with scientific texts and graphs.

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Author:Maj-Britt Isberner, Tobias RichterORCiDGND, Johanna Maier, Katja Knuth-HerzigGND, Holger HorzORCiDGND, Wolfgang Schnotz
Parent Title (English):Instructional Science
Publisher:Springer Science + Business Media
Place of publication:Dordrecht ; Heidelberg [u.a.]
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2015/11/19
Date of first Publication:2013/01/11
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2016/05/23
Tag:Graphs; Multiple text comprehension; Plausibility; Science text comprehension
Page Number:50
First Page:849
Last Page:872
Preprint, erschienen in: Instructional Science, Bd. 41.2013, Heft 5, S. 849-872
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften / Psychologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
3 Sozialwissenschaften / 37 Bildung und Erziehung / 370 Bildung und Erziehung
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht