Pamela Ramírez-Peña, Claudia Paz Pérez-Salas, Bernardo Riffo Ocares, Raquel Cerdán Otero



Comprehension of academic texts is often a complex activity for university students during their first year of studies. This activity may be associated with a higher cognitive demand when reading in digital support and in the presence of distractors. Thus, the general objective of this research was to analyze the role of four executive functions (inhibition, goal setting, working memory and processing speed) in the comprehension of academic texts, together with the role of vocabulary. 62 first-year university students participated in an experimental study in which the effect of inhibition and goal setting on academic text comprehension was analyzed. To determine the effect of the distractor on reading comprehension, an eye tracker was used during reading. The experimental task was complemented with the measure of working memory, processing speed and vocabulary. From the results we conclude that inhibition and goal setting influence comprehension when reading is interrupted by distractors. In addition, we conclude that working memory and processing speed are not related to comprehension, in contrast to vocabulary which correlates positively and significantly with the comprehension of academic texts in first-year university students.

RESUMEN: La comprensión de textos académicos suele ser una actividad compleja para los estudiantes universitarios durante su primer año de estudios. Esta actividad puede estar asociada a una mayor demanda cognitiva cuando se lee en soporte digital y en presencia de distractores. Así, el objetivo general de esta investigación fue analizar el papel de cuatro funciones ejecutivas (inhibición, establecimiento de objetivos, memoria de trabajo y velocidad de procesamiento) en la comprensión de textos académicos, junto con el papel del vocabulario. 62 estudiantes universitarios de primer año participaron en un estudio experimental en el que se analizó el efecto de la inhibición y el establecimiento de objetivos en la comprensión de textos académicos. Para determinar el efecto del distractor en la comprensión, se utilizó un rastreador ocular durante la lectura. La tarea experimental se complementó con medidas de memoria de trabajo, velocidad de procesamiento y vocabulario. De los resultados se concluye que la inhibición y el establecimiento de objetivos favorecen la comprensión cuando la lectura es interrumpida por distractores. Además, se observa que la memoria de trabajo y la velocidad de procesamiento no correlacionan con la comprensión, en contraste con el vocabulario, que correlaciona positiva y significativamente con la comprensión de textos académicos en estudiantes universitarios de primer año.

Palabras clave

reading comprehension, academic text, executive functions, vocabulary, university students; comprensión lectora, textos académicos, funciones ejecutivas, vocabulario, estudiantes universitarios.

Texto completo:



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