Charles R Fletcher

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Contact Me

N218 Elt H

75 E River Rd


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.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: University of Colorado at Boulder, 1984.


  • mental representation of meaning
  • text comprehension
  • experimental
  • discourse comprehension and production
  • comprehension and recall of mathematical proofs
  • cognition
  • causal reasoning
  • human memory
Courses Taught
  • Psy 4994V - Honors Research Practicum
  • Psy 5054 - Psychology of Language
  • Psy 5061 - Neurobiology of Behavior
  • Psy 8993 - Directed Studies: Special Areas of Psychology and Related Sciences - Research Lab in the Psychology of Language
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • University Faculty Senate, University of Minnesota: 2000 - 2001
  • Selection Committee for the Early Career Contribution Award in Human Learning and Cognition, American Psychological Association: 1995
  • Editorial Board, Memory & Cognition: 1994 - 1998
  • Member, Sigma Xi:
  • Member, American Psychological Society:
  • Member, Psychonomic Society:
  • Secretary Treasurer, Society for Text and Discourse: 1994 - 1997
  • Governing Board, Society for Text and Discourse: 1994 - 2002
  • Director of Graduate Studies, Cognitive Science Program, University of Minnesota: 1992 - present
  • Editorial Board, Discourse Processes: 1994 - 2002
  • Member, American Psychological Association, Division 3 (Experimental Psychology):
  • Appointments Committee, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota: 2001 - present
  • Director of Undergraduate Honors, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota: 1991 - present
  • Experimental Area Director, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota: 1989 - 1990
  • Member, Society for Text and Discourse:
  • Fletcher, Charles R (2001). Memory for meaning and surface form. International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences,
  • Fletcher, Charles R, P. Van den Broek, B. Linzie, & C. Marsolek (2000). The production of novel text ideas: The role of causal constraints and text structure. Memory & Cognition, 28, 711-721.
  • Fletcher, C. R., Lucas, S., & Baron, C. M. (1999). Comprehension of mathematical proofs. Narrative comprehension, causality, and coherence: Essays in honor of Tom Trabasso,
  • Fletcher, C. R., Arthur, E., & Skeate, R.C. (1995). Top-down effects in a bottom-up model of narrative comprehension and recall. In Weaver, C.A., Mannes, S., & Fletcher, C.R. (Eds.), Discourse comprehension: Essays in honor of Walter Kintsch , 195-210.
  • Fletcher, Charles R (1994). Levels of Representation in memory for discourse. In M.A. Gernsbacher (Ed). Handbook of psycholinguistics, 589-607.
  • Fletcher, Charles R (1992). Assessing recognition memory for surface forms in discourse: A methodological note. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 18, 199-203.
  • Fletcher, C. R., Hummel, J.E., & Marsolek, C.J. (1990). Causality and the allocation of attention during comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 16, 233-240.
  • Faculty Summer Research Fellowship, University of Minnesota, 1985
  • College of Liberal Arts Teaching Award, University of Minnesota, 1962
  • Bush Faculty Development Program on Excellence and Diversity in Teaching, University of Minnesota, 1992 - 1993
  • McKnight-Land Grant Professorship, University of Minnesota, 1988 - 1991
  • Highest Honors in Psychology, University of California, 1977
  • University of Colorado Graduate Fellowship, University of Colorado, 1982 - 1983