Charles R Fletcher
My research addresses two fundamental questions in the general area of discourse comprehension: How is the meaning of a discourse represented in memory? How is that representation constructed? On the first question, most of my efforts have been directed toward demonstrating experimentally the existence of three levels of representation in memory for discourse: a surface level representation, a propositional textbase, and a situation model. My research into the online processing of discourse has focused on the role of memory and attention in understanding the causal structure of narratives. This research involves both constructing computer models that simulate the flow of ideas through a reader's awareness during narrative comprehension and recall, and conducting experiments with human subjects to evaluate basic assumptions of those models. Recently, this research has branched off in several some directions. First, I have begun investigating how syntactic and semantic factors interact to control a reader's attention. Second, I have begun to examine the generalizability of our results to a new domain: the comprehension of mathematical and logical proofs. Finally, I have been investigating the effectiveness of computer software (LiveInk by Walker Reading Technologies) that has been designed to improve reading comprehension.