Cross-Language Activation and Integration of Concepts in Text Passages

Karly Meillyn Schleicher, University of Texas at El Paso


Learning from text requires the ability to efficiently activate and retrieve relevant concepts from long-term memory and connect these with new information that is being presented in the text. It is assumed that memory representations built from text can be influenced by both surface level information (i.e., word forms), or deeper, conceptual level information. The goal of the present study was to investigate the role of surface level features (i.e., language) influence memory representations developed from text. By recruiting Spanish-English bilinguals, the present study investigated how surface level features from a reader’s two lexicons influences the activation and integration of concepts across text passages. To do this, participants’ eye-movements were monitored while reading pairs of text passages containing novel terms that varied in their consistency. After each passage pair, participants completed a series of true-false comprehension questions. The language match across the text passages within each pair was manipulated, as well as the language of true-false comprehension questions at test (Experiment 1 & 2). In Experiment 2, the structure of the texts was also manipulated. Results across both experiments suggest that participants built a more language-dependent text representation for the novel terms that were contradicted, but built a deeper, more conceptually-dependent text representation for the novel terms that remained consistent across the passage pairs.

Subject Area

Cognitive psychology|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Schleicher, Karly Meillyn, "Cross-Language Activation and Integration of Concepts in Text Passages" (2019). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI22617182.