Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Bradshaw, Gary L.

Committee Member

Moss, Jarrod

Committee Member

Pratte, Michael S.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Psychology


In language, information is omitted for brevity. Comprehension requires inferences to be made, but do we make such inferences during encoding or later? Kintsch (1988) claimed that transitive inferences are made during reading and proposed transitive inferences are extracted from a constructed mental image. Two experiments were performed to test his ideas. Participants read sentences permitting a transitive or reciprocal inference, then immediately answered an inference based question. Data included reaction time and accuracy. By comparing verification against inferential sentences, it is possible to determine if the inference is made during encoding or later. A further manipulation was to compare concrete sentences that could be easily converted to an image with abstract sentences that are hard to image. Results showed reciprocal sentences are slower to verify than transitive, suggesting additional processing is needed. In contrast, no difference was observed between concrete and abstract relations, calling into question Kintsch’s inference/image view.