Memory & Cognition

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 266-273

First online:

Reading and cognitive capacity usage: Adjunct question effects

  • Bruce K. BrittonAffiliated withUniversity of Georgia
  • , Alan PihaAffiliated withUniversity of Georgia
  • , Johnny DavisAffiliated withUniversity of Georgia
  • , Ellen WehausenAffiliated withUniversity of Georgia


Cognitive capacity usage during reading was measured in two experiments. During reading of a 27-page passage on marine biology, text-relevant inserted questions, irrelevant questions, or no questions were answered by undergraduates. Cognitive capacity usage increased when text-relevant questions began but not when irrelevant questions began or when no questions were given. The increase in cognitive capacity usage was largest on pages immediately following questions. Cognitive capacity is used in the elaborative stages of text processing.