Cognitive mechanisms of understanding of verbal texts and infographics

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Research Engineer, Laboratory of Behavioral Neurodynamics
Affiliation: Saint Petersburg State University
Address: Sankt-Petersburg, Universitetskaya nab., 7-9
Occupation: Associate Professor of the Department of General Psychology
Affiliation: Saint Petersburg State University, Faculty of Psychology
Address: Saint Petersburg, Admiral Makarov Embankment, 6, Russia
Journal namePsikhologicheskii zhurnal
EditionVolume 42 Issue 1

The paper describes the results of the experimental study aimed at revealing cognitive mechanisms of understanding of texts of various formats. Based on the classical cognitive theories, one can expect that adding illustrations into texts (e.g. infographics) will influence positively the quality of their understanding of. However, recent studies show that readers experience some issues with understanding of general meaning of infographics, but tend to assess positively their own experience of processing texts of this type. These controversial evidences are the reason for conducting the current study that aimed at revealing cognitive mechanisms (of both understanding and self-estimate of understanding) manifesting when working with texts of various formats. We tested the following hypotheses: 1. readers understand verbal texts better than infographics; 2. readers’ self-estimates of understanding of infographics are higher than those of verbal texts. Participants (n = 40, 18–37 y. o., Me = 22; 77.5% females) were asked to read two texts of various formats and then, answer the questions of test based on these texts, self-estimate the level of texts’ comprehension and, finally, answered the questions of semi-structured interviews. As a result, no differences were found in the levels of texts’ comprehension and tests’ scores for texts of various formats. Self-esteems of the comprehension of verbal texts were higher than those of infographics. The results demonstrate that there is a qualitative specifics of cognitive mechanisms of understanding of texts of various formats; the difficulties with understanding of infographics with complicated content can be recognized and, thus, taken into consideration by readers.

Keywordsreading, understanding, self-estimate of understanding, verbal text, infographics
Publication date20.01.2021
Number of characters36636
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