Calibration of Comprehension

Arthur M. Glenberg, William Epstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

208 Scopus citations


After reading 1-paragraph expository texts, subjects rated confidence in ability to use each text to draw correct inferences. Subjects also performed an inference verification test for each text. The confidence ratings and the test results were used to derive three measures of calibration of comprehension, that is, accuracy of self-assessments of knowledge regarding the text. In Experiment 1, calibration was assessed when the confidence ratings were secured immediately following each text and also when confidence ratings were delayed until all texts had been read. In Experiment 2, calibration was assessed when subjects were first familiarized with the type and level of inferences to be encountered on the inference verification test and also when subjects proceeded without familiarization. Under all conditions in both experiments calibration of comprehension was strikingly poor; our readers were unable to distinguish between what was understood and what was not understood. In Experiment 3, significant but modest gains in calibration were observed when readers used experience in answering inference verification items to predict future test performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)702-718
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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