Minimalism versus constructionism: A false dichotomy in theories of inference during reading

Garnham, Alan (1992) Minimalism versus constructionism: A false dichotomy in theories of inference during reading. Psycoloquy, 3 (63).

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Abstract

McKoon and Ratcliff (1992) argue for a "minimalist" theory of inference in reading, contrasting it with "constructionist" theories, including theories based on mental or situation models. Minimal inferences are those required for local (not global) coherence and those based on readily available knowledge. This target article argues that minimalism is a hedged and less testable version of an older theory. More important, McKoon and Ratcliff mischaracterize constructionism, failing to notice that local coherence often depends on constructionist processes. When people do not have the knowledge required to establish local coherence, they do not do so during reading. The only unhedged prediction of the minimalist theory is hence incorrect. Although a theory of inference making should be both constructionist and approximately minimalist, a distinction must be made between a computational theory of inference making and a description of the mechanisms underlying our inferential abilities.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Alan Garnham
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:47
Last Modified: 17 May 2012 13:23
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/14383
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