GERNSBACHER, M. A., & FAUST, M. (1991). The mechanism of suppression: A component of general comprehension skill. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 17, 245-262.
We investigated whether the cognitive mechanism of suppression underlies differences in adult comprehension skill. Less-skilled comprehenders less-efficiently reject the inappropriate meanings of ambiguous words (e.g., the playing card vs garden tool meaning of spade), the incorrect forms of homophones (e.g., patients vs patience), the highly-typical-but-absent members of scenes (e.g., atractor in a farm scene), and words superimposed on pictures or pictures surrounding words. However, less-skilled comprehenders are not less cognizant of what is contextually appropriate; in fact, they benefit from a biasing context just as much (and perhaps more) as more-skilled comprehenders do. So, less-skilled comprehenders do not having difficulty enhancing contextually appropriate information. Instead, we suggest that less-skilled comprehenders suffer from a less-efficient suppression mechanism, which we conclude is an important component of general comprehension skill.