Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Committee Member

David Copeland

Second Committee Member

Mark Ashcraft

Third Committee Member

Colleen Parks

Fourth Committee Member

Tara Emmers-Sommer

Number of Pages



When people read traditional text-based stories, they construct mental representations of the described state of affairs, called situation models, to connect various details of events (e.g., time, space, entity) in memory (Zwaan & Radvansky, 1998). According to the cognitive theory of multimedia learning (Mayer, 2005; 2011), stories presented as pictures and text generate independent channels of mental representations that can work hand-in-hand or separately to acquire and remember the materials presented. This dissertation consisted of two experiments that were used to further explore how the two modalities affect what is being mentally represented in memory. In Experiment 1, participants were presented with a story called The War of the Ghosts through pictures-only, text-only, or a combination of text and pictures, followed by an immediate recall test of the story and a second recall test after a two day delay. In Experiment 2, they were asked to also identify whether they detected situation changes in the story as they read or viewed the information. Experiment 2 was conducted to examine whether the changes (e.g., space, time, entity) in people's situation models influenced their memories during the two day recall task. The findings from these two experiments showed that the type of multimedia source people are presented with can affect how well they can form strong situation models and retrieve accurate details of the story. In addition, the results showed that multimedia can alter the way information is organized when creating a coherent mental representation in memory.


Cognitive learning theory; Learning; Psychology of; Memory; Mental representation


Cognition and Perception | Cognitive Psychology | Instructional Media Design

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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