2021 Volume 32 Pages 65-80
Researchers have not properly investigated readers’ construction of global coherence along multiple dimensions despite its importance in narrative reading. The present study has aimed to reveal whether and how readers of English as a foreign language (EFL) in Japan maintain local and global coherence of multiple situational dimensions. In the experiment, the eye movements of 39 Japanese university students were recorded as they read 24 narrative texts. The experimental texts contained target sentences that were either inconsistent or consistent with the preceding context sentences regarding the situational dimensions (i.e., protagonist, intentionality, causality). Through manipulation of the distance between context and target sentences, two coherence levels were set (i.e., local and global coherence). Statistical analysis of readers’ eye movements revealed that (a) EFL readers monitor the global and local coherence of intentionality and local coherence of protagonist but not the causality and (b) EFL readers maintain coherence through late reading processing (i.e., lookbacks), not through initial processing (first-pass). These results suggest differences in multiple dimensionality and its coherence level whereby EFL readers monitor coherence during reading. On the basis of the results, implications for reading instruction and future research direction regarding coherence monitoring in EFL reading are discussed.