The QUEST model and the immediacy of the search for answers in expository texts
Barker, Gregory P.
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The present research examined answer selection within the framework of the QUEST model of question answering proposed by Graesser and Franklin (1990). The present study tested two contrasting hypotheses concerning how answers are activated during question answering. The parallel search hypothesis assumes that the search for legal answers occurs while the question is encoded, whereas the serial search hypothesis assumes that the search processes do not begin until after the entire question is encoded. Participants in the present study read expository passages followed by a series of primetarget pairs. The prime statement (a sentence taken from one of the passages) either appeared alone, was preceded by, or was followed by a WHY question-stem. After reading the prime statement, the participants made a timed lexical decision to a target word drawn from a theoretically legal or illegal answer. The results indicated the participants responded more quickly to legal targets than illegal targets when the prime statement was preceded by the WHY question-stem. This difference did not appear in the other two conditions. This finding supported the parallel search hypothesis. However, The prime reading times did not differ. This finding supported the serial search hypothesis. These findings were discussed in the context of previous research testing question answering and the QUEST model.