Coordinating the cognitive processes of writing : the role of the monitor
Faculty of Applied Economics
Beverly Hills, Calif.
Written communication. - Beverly Hills, Calif.
, p. 345-368
University of Antwerp
Moment to moment, a writer faces a host of potential problems. How does the writers mind coordinate this problem solving? In the original Hayes and Flower model, the authors posited a distinct process to manage this coordinatingthat is, the monitor. The monitor became responsible for executive function in writing. In two experiments, the current authors investigated monitor function by examining the coordination of two common writing tasksediting (i.e., correcting an error) and sentence composing in the presence or absence of an error and with a low or high memory load for the writer. In the first experiment, participants could approach the editing and composing task in either order. On most trials (88%), they finished the sentence first, and less frequently (12%), they corrected the error first. The error-first approach occurred significantly more often under the low-load condition than the high-load condition. For the second experiment, participants were asked to adopt the less-used, error-first approach. Success in completing the assigned task order was affected by both memory load and error type. These results suggest that the monitor depends on the relative availability of working memory resources and coordinates subtasks to mitigate direct competition over those resources.