Gist-reasoning in adults with traumatic brain injury

Vas, Asha
Chapman, Sandra B.
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International Brain Injury Association

One remarkable capacity of the human brain is its adeptness in extracting ‘gist’ from information that we encounter everyday (Bartlett, 1932, Chapman, Sparks, Levin et al., 2004; Reyna & Brainerd, 1995). Researchers refer to gist as global meanings gleaned from verbal or auditory information (e.g., Kintsch, 1994; vanDijk & Kintsch, 1983). For example, the gist of a movie may include a general sense of the story line or the relation between the key characters and events in the movie. Chapman and colleagues (2004) extend this notion of gist to introduce a construct labeled ‘gist-reasoning’ that denotes the ability to form novel and abstract level meanings than conveyed by the concrete details. That is, gist-reasoning involves combining the explicit input/details of the movie through complex reasoning to construct deeper level interpretations. In essence, gist reasoning is a perfect example of the adage ‘the whole is more than the sum of its parts”. The metric of gist-reasoning has proven sensitive in characterizing deficiencies in abstracting meanings from complex information in adolescents with TBI, who had near normal IQ as compared to their non-injured peers (Chapman, Gamino, Cook et al., 2006). Furthermore, improvements in gist-reasoning ability have been associated with increased performance on measures of immediate memory, working memory, inhibition, and switching (Anand, Chapman, Rackley et al., 2010; Vas, Chapman, Cook et al., 2011). However, training of basic cognitive processes such as memory and attention did not improve higher-level gist-reasoning (Gamino, Chapman, Hull et al., 2010). Thus, gist-reasoning could be best understood as a complex task that is positively associated with cognitive control processes (e.g. working memory, inhibition, switching) and immediate memory.

Article originally published in International NeuroTrauma Letter.. English. Published 2012. Not available online.
Complex reasoning, Improvements in gist-reasoning, Cognitive control processes
This is a pre-print version of an article that is not available online. Recommended citation: Vas, A. K., & Chapman, S. B. (2012). Gist-reasoning in adults with traumatic brain injury. International NeuroTrauma Letter. This item has been deposited with the author’s permission and in the absence of publisher policies.