Why Do Delayed Summaries Improve Metacomprehension Accuracy?

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We showed that metacomprehension accuracy improved when participants (N = 87 college students) wrote summaries of texts prior to judging their comprehension; however, accuracy only improved when summaries were written after a delay, not when written immediately after reading. We evaluated two hypotheses proposed to account for this delayed-summarization effect (the accessibility hypothesis and the situation model hypothesis). The data suggest that participants based metacomprehension judgments more on the gist of texts when they generated summaries after a delay; whereas, they based judgments more on details when they generated summaries immediately after reading. Focusing on information relevant to the situation model of a text (the gist of a text) produced higher levels of metacomprehension accuracy, which is consistent with situation model hypothesis.