Scholman, Merel; Marchal, Marian; Demberg, Vera

Connective comprehension in adults: The influence of lexical transparency, frequency, and individual differences

Discourse Processes, 2024.

The comprehension of connectives is crucial for understanding the discourse relations that make up a text. We studied connective comprehension in English to investigate whether adult comprehenders acquire the meaning and intended use of connectives to a similar extent and how connective features and individual differences impact connective comprehension. A coherence judgment study indicated that differences in how well people comprehend connectives depend on the lexical transparency but not on the frequency of the connective. Furthermore, individual variation between participants can be explained by their vocabulary size, nonverbal IQ, and cognitive reasoning style. Print exposure was not found to be relevant. These findings provide further insight into the factors that influence discourse processing and highlight the need to consider individual differences in discourse comprehension research as well as the need to examine a wider range of connectives in empirical studies of discourse markers.