Remembrance of things parsed: Story structure and recall

  • Mandler J
  • Johnson N
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Abstract

An analysis of the underlying structure of simple stories is presented. It is claimed that this type of representation of stories is used to form schemata which guide encoding and retrieval. A type of tree structure containing basic units and their connections was found to be adequate to describe the structure of both single and multi-episode stories. The representation is outlined in the form of a grammar, consisting of rewrite rules defining the units and their relationships. Some transformational rules mapping underlying and surface structures are discussed. The adequacy of the analysis is first tested against Bartlett's protocols of "The War of the Ghosts." Then a developmental study of recall is presented. It is concluded that both children and adults are sensitive to the structure of stories, although some differences were found. Finally, it is suggested that the schemata used to guide encoding and recall are related but not identical and that retrieval is dependent on the schemata operative at the time of recall. © 1977.

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Authors

  • Jean M. Mandler

  • Nancy S. Johnson

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