Welcome to UNE’s Reading Comprehension & Cognition Lab!


At the Cognition Lab here at UNE, we’re committed to gaining a deeper understanding of how people encode, store and retrieve information from memory and how we can optimize the learning process.

Presently, there are a number of research projects in progress, including a new, cross-department study exploring the relationship between cognitive variables and coherence in narrative discourse in older people – particularly those with Alzheimer’s Disease and related Disorders (ADRD). The prospects for this study are exciting, and have the potential to prolong the ability of people with ADRD to comprehend written materials and extend their quality of life.

There are also several ongoing projects examining the various factors which differentiate skilled- from less-skilled readers, and the actions which can be undertaken to remediate reading deficits. Understanding what differentiates skilled- from less-skilled readers has been a focal point of my research efforts to date. Studies I have conducted in the past investigated the extent to which readers (of all levels) engage in the process of updating information while in the act of reading news articles (after they have been presented with more accurate information), and the types of cues necessary to reactivate spatial information once it is no longer active in memory.

What I find especially interesting about the exploration of reading comprehension are its applications in real world settings – in particular education. My research efforts to date with regard to skilled- and less-skilled readers has fueled new studies such as how the use of adjunct questions can aid the comprehension of less-skilled readers in understanding expository readings, identifying which factors predict success in online classes as well as the presentation methods capable of facilitating a deeper processing of course material by online learners.

The Reading and Cognition Lab offers many wonderful opportunities for UNE students to become involved with conducting research.  UNE students interested in employment or volunteer opportunities in the lab may email Dr. Stiegler-Balfour at jstiegler@une.edu for more information.

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