Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Levine, Bill

Committee Member/Reader

Radan, Nikola

Committee Member/Second Reader

Brown, Mitch

Committee Member/Third Reader

Dowdle, Andrew


The purpose of the present research was to further examine contested findings in the research literature surrounding the processes readers use to maintain and update their mental representation of contextual information in a text. Research indicates that whether information is directly relevant to the goal of a story’s protagonist influences whether it will be used as a basis for later validation (Levine & Kim, 2019; Levine & Klin, 2001; Lutz & Radvansky, 1997). Some prior research that indicates that participants fail to validate inconsistent contextual information (Albrecht & Myers, 1995; Smith et al., 2020; Smith & O’Brien, 2012) relies on materials in which the inconsistent information is goal irrelevant. The current study employed similar methodology to Smith and O’Brien but with a focus on protagonist identity rather than location. Participants read passages in which the consistency between mentions of goal irrelevant protagonist occupation information was manipulated. Contrary to hypothesis, readers experienced reading disruptions any time they encountered occupation information that was inconsistent with a prior mention, despite its irrelevance. The present findings suggest that readers continually monitor even goal irrelevant identity information.


discourse processing, language comprehension, reading, consistency, validation