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Inference Processes in Expository Film Comprehension

Realistic Depictions




Budget resources of KMRC


The project inference processes in expository film comprehension analyses how recipients of documentary films or science shows elaborate on the presented content and acquire knowledge. Inferences are seen as prototypical elaboration strategies. According to Graesser et al. (2002) bridging inferences are needed to semantically or conceptually relate the current sentence being read with the previous content. Within the project different methods to analyse online generated bridging inferences during the cognitive processing of expository films are analysed. The relations between inference processes and knowledge acquisition as well as the role of filmic devices are being investigated.

The term expository film is borrowed from text processing research. In this context expository texts are differentiated from narrative texts in several facts: structure, causal coherence of information, the presence/absence of a protagonist, and the circumstances under which readers normally read these texts. The purpose of reading an expository text is to learn from it and to apply and use the information given (Durgunoglu & Jehng, 1991). However, a clear distinction between expository and narrative texts is difficult because several variables are confounded between these genres (Wolfe, 2005).

This doctoral project was completed by Dr. Maike Tibus in 2009.


  • Prof. Dr. Danielle McNamara, FedEx Institut for Intelligent Systems, University of Memphis, USA