In two experiments, we attempted to analyze the effects of newspaper article headlines and summaries on final comprehension and recall. During the first experiment, the participants consisted of 117 high school students from the 9th grade, 68 from the 11th grade, 79 first year Psychology students from the Autonoma University of Madrid and 66 fifth year Journalism students from the Complutense University of Madrid. The subjects were randomly required to read a news report in one of the following experimental conditions: (1) the whole news article (headline, summary and text), (2) the headline and text, (3) the summary and text, and (4), the text only. The data from immediate and delayed free recall tasks were recorded. The results showed that the structure of the news article did not influence the recall and that there were differences among groups in the amount and quality of recall. The headline and the summary modified by the use of macrostructural criteria constituted additional elements introduced into the second experiment to provide a contrast with the original headline and summary. The results showed that an improvement in article recall did occur with the modified version in comparison with the original version. These two experiments have confirmed that the aims and criteria of journalists differ from those held by the authors of scientific texts and question whether the reading strategies applied are the same in both cases.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 29, 2004
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