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From Idea to Text John R. Hayes Carnegie Mellon University Presented to the Conference on Writing Development: Multiple Perspectives July 2nd, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "From Idea to Text John R. Hayes Carnegie Mellon University Presented to the Conference on Writing Development: Multiple Perspectives July 2nd, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 From Idea to Text John R. Hayes Carnegie Mellon University Presented to the Conference on Writing Development: Multiple Perspectives July 2nd, 2009

2 Overview An Experimental Method –Language bursts as a tool for studying writing processes A Theoretical Issue –Parallel vs. Sequential Processing in writing 2© 2009 John R. Hayes

3 The Language Burst Phenomenon When people write, they typically produce text in short bursts of words separated by pauses and other activities 3© 2009 John R. Hayes

4 An Example The best thing about it is that – what? Something about using my mind – it allows me the opportunity to – uh – I want to write something about my ideas – to put ideas into action or to – develop my ideas into – what? – into a meaningful form – oh, bleh! – say it allows me – to use na! – allows me – scratch that – The best thing about it is that it allows me to use – my mind and my ideas in a productive way 4© 2009 John R. Hayes

5 Why Might Language Bursts Be Interesting? May reflect a bottleneck in writing process Identifying the bottleneck may pinpoint a source of writing difficulty Related to but different from pause measures –Focused on doughnut rather than hole 5© 2009 John R. Hayes

6 A First Study of Language Bursts (Kaufer, Hayes, & Flower; 1986) Question: In what ways do the writing processes of more experienced writers differ from those of less experienced writers? Think-aloud protocol study comparing graduate students and freshmen 6© 2009 John R. Hayes

7 Results Grad Students FreshmenP less than Burst Length © 2009 John R. Hayes

8 Bursts and Linguistic Experience (Chenoweth & Hayes, 2001) Question: How does linguistic experience influence burst length? Protocol study of American students studying French or German Each wrote two essays, one in L1 & one in L2 Students varied in L2 experience –Third-semester vs. fifth-semester students 8© 2009 John R. Hayes

9 P =

10 P <.05 10

11 Bursts and Working Me (Chenoweth & Hayes, 2003) Question: How is burst length changed by reducing working memory resources? 11© 2009 John R. Hayes

12 Study Design Participants wrote one-sentence descriptions of wordless cartoons Verbal working-memory reduced through articulatory suppression (AS) In AS, the participant repeats a syllable while performing the task Writers said “tap,” tapped a foot, or did nothing in time to a metronome (2 beats per second) 12© 2009 John R. Hayes

13 13

14 Results ControlReduced Working Memory P less than Burst Length © 2009 John R. Hayes

15 Summary of Factors Influencing Burst Length Burst length increased with: –the writer’s expertise –the writer’s linguistic experience –availability of verbal working memory Increases in burst length corresponded to increases in fluency Hypothesis: When writers produce new language that language will be produced in bursts 15© 2009 John R. Hayes

16 Our Next Question Which writing processes are responsible for these effects? 16© 2009 John R. Hayes

17 17

18 Study 1: Where Do Bursts Happen Where? Question: Does bursting happen during a simple transcription task? Participants transcribed texts from one computer screen to another © 2006 J. R. Hayes & N. A. Chenoweth

19 Results Bursts were essentially absent in transcription More than 80 words between breaks in typing Transcription process not a source of bursts 19© 2009 John R. Hayes

20 Study 2: Where Do Bursts Happen? Question: Will bursting occur in a task that involves translating language but not proposing new ideas? © 2007 J. R. Hayes & N. A. Chenoweth

21 Study 2: Design Edited passive sentences into active voice –Groceries bought by the hungry travelers were eaten by a bear –A bear ate the groceries that the hungry travelers bought Verbal working-memory reduced through articulatory interference –Writer said “tap” or tapped foot in time to metronome © 2009 John R. Hayes21

22 Results and Implications Multiple bursts are typical in the passives translation task Translation process can cause bursts Translation is a bottleneck in the text production process Application to writing development and second-language learning 22© 2009 John R. Hayes

23 Are Writing Processes Parallel or Sequential? Current models and methods assume sequential processing Evidence from Alamargot et al. More evidence suggesting parallelism 23© 2009 John R. Hayes

24 An Alternative Possibility Memory load hypothesis Chanquoy, Foulin, & Fayol (1990) –Participants composed then sentences with three clauses and then typed them –Typing rate increased from clause one to clause three –Authors attributed increase in rate to decreasing memory load 24© 2009 John R. Hayes

25 Memory Load Study Task: transcribe text Experimental condition: Remember sentence while typing Control: No memory load 25© 2009 John R. Hayes

26 Results ControlRecall Sentence P less than Typing Rate © 2009 John R. Hayes

27 Conclusion Both parallelism hypothesis and memory load hypothesis could explain slowing of typing rate. Results of Alamargot et al. require some parallelism 27© 2009 John R. Hayes

28 Strategy Choice Position Writing processes not intrinsically parallel or sequential Writer chooses degree of overlap to manage processing load Most often, sequential processing is chosen 28© 2009 John R. Hayes

29 Summary Sequential assumption may be a reasonably accurate approximation Models and methods based on this assumption are still useful We need to explore how often writers’ choose sequential vs. parallel processing and the conditions affecting those choices © 2009 John R. Hayes29

30 Thank you

31 References Chenoweth, N.A. & Hayes, J.R. (2001). Fluency in writing: Generating text in L1 and L2. Written Communication, 18, Chenoweth, N.A. & Hayes, J.R. (2003) The inner voice in writing. Written Communication, 20, © 2009 John R. Hayes

32 References (cont.) Hayes, J. R. & Chenoweth, N. A. (2006) Is working memory involved in the transcription and editing of texts? Written Communication, 23, Hayes, J. R. & Chenoweth, N. A. (2007) Revision and Working memory 32© 2009 John R. Hayes

33 References (cont.) Kaufer, D. S., Hayes, J. R., & Flower, L. (1986). Composing written sentences. Research in the Teaching of English, 20(2), © 2009 John R. Hayes

34 Chenoweth, N.A. & Hayes, J.R. (2001). Fluency in writing: Generating text in L1 and L2. Written Communication, 18, Chenoweth, N.A. & Hayes, J.R. (2003) The inner voice in writing. Written Communication, 20, © 2009 John R. Hayes

35 References (cont.) Hayes, J. R. & Chenoweth, N. A. (2006) Is working memory involved in the transcription and editing of texts? Written Communication, 23, Hayes, J. R. & Chenoweth, N. A. (2007) Revision and Working memory. Written Communication, 24, 35© 2009 John R. Hayes

36 References (cont.) Kaufer, D. S., Hayes, J. R., & Flower, L. (1986). Composing written sentences. Research in the Teaching of English, 20(2), © 2009 John R. Hayes

37 Results ControlReduced Working Memory P equal to Writing Rate © 2009 John R. Hayes


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