Time course of elaborative inferences in reading as a function of prior vocabulary knowledge

Manuel G. Calvo, Adelina Estevez, Margaret G. Dowens

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Elaborative inferences during reading were assessed by means of a naming task and eye-fixation monitoring in low- and high-vocabulary undergraduates. A context sentence was followed by a target word to be named or read. Evidence for inferences involved facilitation in naming latencies or reading times for the target word when this was predictable by the context. The results indicated that high-vocabulary readers were faster and more likely to make inferences on-line than low-vocabulary readers. Those low in vocabulary, generated inferences only after 1050 ms of the end of the inducing context sentence, whereas those high in vocabulary made inferences 500 ms earlier. Furthermore, when the stimuli involved reading of continuous text, rather than discrete naming of target words, only the high-vocabulary readers drew inferences, which suggests that low-vocabulary readers are unlikely to make inferences in natural reading conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-631
Number of pages21
JournalLearning and Instruction
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Eye fixations
  • Inference
  • Naming
  • Predictability
  • Reading
  • Time course
  • Vocabulary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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