This study investigated whether presenting a picture before reading can encourage situation-model construction. We compared two conditions (n = 30) which differed in whether a picture of the initial situation described in a narrative text was presented before reading (i.e. pictorial-support condition) or not (i.e. no-picture condition). Situation-model construction was measured using both process- and product-oriented measures. Eye-tracking data indicated online resource allocation to the different levels of text representation: surface, textbase, and situation model. Literal text questions and inference questions were used as an offline indication of textbase and situation-model processing, respectively. The results showed that a picture presented before reading led to a redistribution of processing resources during reading, evidenced by a shift from textbase to situation-model processing. This attentional shift did not translate into higher comprehension scores. The results were interpreted in line with multimedia learning theories suggesting pictures can serve as a mental scaffold for situation-model construction.

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Educational Psychology
Department of Psychology

Wassenburg, S., de Koning, B., Bos, L., & van der Schoot, M. (2019). Inspecting a picture before reading affects attentional processing but not comprehension. Educational Psychology. doi:10.1080/01443410.2019.1645306