Enhancing Calibration of Comprehension

Document Type


Publication Date



testing mode & assessment of familiarity of text domain vs knowledge gain & performance enhancement by pretest feedback, calibration of comprehension, college students

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



This article is structured around 4 points concerning calibration of comprehension (COC). (1) Poor COC is the rule, rather than the exception, a fact that has been repeatedly demonstrated in our laboratory and in others. Poor COC is also typical in at least one other domain: solving insight problems. (2) We present 2 experiments that demonstrate that poor COC is not associated with a particular type of performance test but is found with inference tests, verbatim recognition tests, and idea recognition tests. Also, we demonstrate that poor calibration cannot be attributed to unreliable testing procedures. (3) The evidence from 3 experiments indicates that a likely reason for poor COC is that Ss assess familiarity with the general domain of a text instead of assessing knowledge gained from a particular text. (4) We demonstrate that COC can be enhanced if Ss are given a pretest that provides (self-generated) feedback. Implications for theories of representation of knowledge gained from reading are discussed.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, v. 116, issue 2, p. 119-136