Cognitive Factors in Reading

According to Harris and Sipay (1980:251) there are several cognitive factors in reading such as perception, attention, memory, and cognitive style.

2.4.1 Perception

Perception starts with the stimulation of sense organs such as the eyes and ears, but it is far more than simple sensing. In perceiving, the brain selects, groups, organizes, and sequences the sensory data so that people perceive meaningful experiences that can lead to appropriate responses. Among the important characteristics of perception, several seem to have particular relevance for reading, such as follows:

1.      Figure and Ground

Normally, one major unit or group of units is perceived clearly against a background that is more vaguely perceived.

2.      Closure

The abilities to get the correct meaning of a sentence in which not all the words are recognized, and to pronounce a word correctly when some letters are blotted out, are examples of closure.

1.      Sequence

In reading, all the stimuli are on the page and sequence is imposed by the reader.

2.      Learning

Perception becomes meaningful units as they become associated with learned concepts and their verbal labels.

3.      Set

One’s immediate mind set provides an anticipation of what is likely to come that is helpful when the anticipation is correct, but leads to errors when the anticipation is incorrect.

4.      Discrimination

The abilities to analyze a whole perception into its parts, and to synthesize the parts correctly are basic to success in visual and auditory discrimination of words.

2.4.2        Memory

Psychologists distinguish between iconic memory, the fraction of a second that a sensory impression lasts before it fades out. Short term memory, which lasts a view second and long term memory. A distinction is also made rote memory, in which the material may be without structure (as in a sequence of digits), and memory for meaningful material.


2.4.3        Attention

According to Harris and Sipay (1980:277) attention based on the cognitive is the ability to attend and concentrate is basic to efficiency in perception, learning, and memory.

Related to this study, it means the person can maintain focus on particular stimuli and disregard or suppress other stimulation that reaches him at the same time, thus maintaining a stable figure in the focus of attention, against a non interfering background.

2.4.4        Cognitive Style

Cognitive style refers to the tendency to prefer certain ways of handling cognitive tasks to other ways. The preferred may be a relatively strong aptitude or a fairly consistent behavioral tendency. Some explorations of cognitive style seem relevant to the understanding of reading disabilities.


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