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David Rapp


Email: rapp AT northwestern DOT edu
Areas of interest: Language & Memory, Reading Comprehension, Cognitive & Educational Psychology


Reading comprehension involves a dynamic, interactive set of processes including 1) the activation of prior knowledge, 2) the use of that activated information along with the current text, and 3) the potential updating or revision of memory. My program of research examines how these higher-order activities function both successfully and unsuccessfully during reading. I also focus on the mechanisms that underlie our general, everyday reading experiences – for instance, how our preferences for events and characters directly influence our reading processes. Some of my work attempts to generalize these findings from text to a variety of learning conditions, including our experiences exploring spatial environments with maps, our understanding of procedures delivered through multimedia presentations, and the acquisition of scientific knowledge from novel visualizations. All of this work requires the integration of theory and research from different disciplines in psychology (including cognitive and educational psychology). Such an interdisciplinary view is important for both examining the basic mechanisms necessary for comprehension, as well as for advancing applied work that attempts to remediate comprehension difficulties.