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Comprehension skill, inference making ability and their relation to knowledge.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • K. Cain
  • M. A. Barnes
  • P. E. Bryant
  • J. V. Oakhill
Journal publication date1/09/2001
JournalMemory and Cognition
Number of pages10
Original languageEnglish


In this study we investigated the relation between young children's comprehension skill and inferencemaking ability using a procedure that controlled individual differences in general knowledge (Barnes & Dennis, 1998; Barnes, Dennis, & Haefele-Kalvaitis, 1996). A multiepisode story was read to the children, and their ability to make two types of inference was assessed: coherence inferences, which were essential for adequate comprehension of the text, and elaborative inferences, which enhanced the text representation but which were not crucial to understanding. There was a strong relation between comprehension skill and inference-making ability even when knowledge was equally available to all participants. Subsidiary analyses of the source of inference failures revealed different underlying sources of difficulty for good and poor comprehenders.

Bibliographic note

Cain was lead author on an international collaboration and wrote the manuscript. She modified Barnes' materials, modified the experimental design, collected and analysed the data. She presented these data at a meeting of the EPS (Nottingham, 2000). RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Psychology