Comprehension in proficient readers: The nature of individual variation
This study was conducted to determine which abilities are central to explaining comprehension and which are secondary to other abilities. A battery of psycholinguistic and cognitive tests was administered to community college and university students. Seven constructs were identified: word decoding, working-memory capacity (WMC), general reasoning, verbal fluency, perceptual speed, inhibition, and language experience. Only general reasoning and language experience had direct effects; these two variables accounted for as much variance in comprehension as did the complete set. Direct effects of WMC and decoding were found only when general reasoning and language experience were deleted from the models. The authors question the need to include WMC in our theories of variability in adult reading comprehension and highlight the need to understand precisely how vocabulary facilitates comprehension.