The effect of causal diagrams on text learning

We examined the effect of studying a causal diagram on comprehension of causal relationships from an expository science text. A causal diagram is a type of visual display that explicitly represents cause-effect relationships. In Experiment 1, readers between conditions did not differ with respect to memory for main ideas, but the readers who studied the causal diagram while reading the text understood better the five causal sequences in the text even when study time was controlled. Participants in Experiment 2 studied only the causal diagram or only the text. There were no differences in memory for main ideas or the causal sequences between these groups. Results indicate that causal diagrams are not merely redundant with text and that causal diagrams affect understanding of causal relationships in the absence of a text. These findings supported the causal explication hypothesis, which states that causal diagrams improve comprehension by explicitly representing the implicit causal structure of the text in a visual format.

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Work Title The effect of causal diagrams on text learning
Access
Open Access
Creators
  1. Matthew T. McCrudden
  2. Gregory Schraw
  3. Stephen Lehman
  4. Anne Poliquin
Keyword
  1. Causal diagram
  2. Text comprehension
  3. Causal relationships
  4. Visual/spatial display
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
Publisher
  1. Contemporary Educational Psychology
Publication Date January 20, 2006
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2005.11.002
Deposited August 09, 2023

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Version 1
published

  • Created
  • Added CEP_2007_CDs.pdf
  • Added Creator Matthew T. McCrudden
  • Added Creator Gregory Schraw
  • Added Creator Stephen Lehman
  • Added Creator Anne Poliquin
  • Published
  • Updated Keyword, Description, Publication Date Show Changes
    Keyword
    • Causal diagram, Text comprehension, Causal relationships, Visual/spatial display
    Description
    • x
    • We examined the effect of studying a causal diagram on comprehension of causal relationships from an expository science text. A causal diagram is a type of visual display that explicitly represents cause-effect relationships. In Experiment 1, readers between conditions did not differ with respect to memory for main ideas, but the readers who studied the causal diagram while reading the text understood better the five causal sequences in the text even when study time was controlled. Participants in Experiment 2 studied only the causal diagram or only the text. There were no differences in memory for main ideas or the causal sequences between these groups. Results indicate that causal diagrams are not merely redundant with text and that causal diagrams affect understanding of causal relationships in the absence of a text. These findings supported the causal explication hypothesis, which states that causal diagrams improve comprehension by explicitly representing the implicit causal structure of the text in a visual format.
    Publication Date
    • 2007-07-01
    • 2006-01-20
  • Updated