The accuracy of metacomprehension judgments: The biasing effect of text order

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Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology


Introduction. Two experiments tested the hypothesis that relative metacomprehension accuracy is vulnerable when readers' cognitive efforts are biased by text order. It is proposed that the difficulty level of initial text information biases readers' estimates of text comprehension but is correctable when more cognitive effort is applied. Method: In both experiments, participants were randomly assigned to read a series of expository texts in one of two text order conditions: easy-to-hard and hard-to-easy. Readers made estimates of their comprehension and took comprehension tests over their understanding of the texts in the series in order to determine relative metacomprehension accuracy. Results: Experiment 1 revealed that reading texts ordered easy-to-hard resulted in lower average relative metacomprehension accuracy compared to texts ordered hard-to-easy. In Experiment 2, when participants were explicitly instructed to put more cognitive effort in to the task, the biasing effects of text order were eliminated. Discussion and Conclusion: These results expand one tenet of the optimum-effort hypothesis that relative metacomprehension accuracy is minimized when reading is perceived to be easy, requiring little cognitive effort. © Education & Psychology I+D+i and Editorial EOS (Spain).

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