Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton April 3, 2014

The role of cognitive coherence in non-expert processes of literary discourse reception

Pilar Alonso

Abstract

This study focuses on the role played by cognitive coherence in non-expert readers' comprehension of structurally complex cases of literary discourse, both poetry and prose. Based on evidence from classroom-acquired data, it supports the claim made by mainstream sources that, in authorial creative uses of structural coherence, non-expert readers may invoke alternative mental patterns of coherence from non-specific cognitive domains to fill up difficult portions of text (cf. Grabe 2009). The search for cognitive coherence is thus used as a default comprehension strategy to satisfy non-experts' needs for mental model construction, especially when there are failures in the implementation of other linearity-based coherence-related comprehension strategies, such as early topic establishment (Giora 1997), reference based on proximity as a builder of discourse coherence (Hobbs 1996), and comprehension based on relevance and the achievement of cognitive effects at low processing cost (Wilson and Matsui 2000).

Published Online: 2014-4-3
Published in Print: 2014-4-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston