Theories differ in what kind of inference is quickly and frequently made during reading. From Graesser et al. (2001):
- Constructionist theory (Graesser et al. 1994; Graesser and Zwaan 1995): 'explanation-based' inferences are routinely generated while comprehending information in all modes -- text, film, and the world.
- Minimalist hypothesis (McKoon and Ratcliff, 1992): the only inferences that readers routinely and quickly generate are those that arereadily available in working memory and that are needed to establish local text coherence
- Early theories of mental models (Glenberg, Meyer, and Lindem 1987; Johnson-Laird 1983): predicted that readers construct spatial inferences (among others)
From Perfetti et al. (2007): "according to the minimalist hypothesis, which assumes that readers generally make only those inferences necessary for text coherence and not those that merely elaborate information in the text (McKoon & Ratcliff, 1992). Of course, the occurrence of forward inferences has been the subject of much research and controversy, and there are rebuttals to the minimalist position (Graesser, Singer, & Trabasso, 1994)."
- Graesser, A. C., Wiemer-Hastings, P., & Wiemer-Hastings, K. (2001). Constructing inferences and relations during text comprehension. Text Representation: Linguistic and Psycholinguistic Aspects, 2742(901), 249–271.
- Graesser, A.C., Singer, M., & Trabasso, T. (1994). Constructing inferences during narrative text comprehension. Psychological Review, 101, 371-395.
- Graesser, A. C., & Zwaan, R. A. (1995). Inference generation and the construction of situation models. In C. A. Weaver, S. Mannes, & C. R. Fletcher (Eds.), Discourse comprehension: Strategies and processing revisited (pp. 117-139). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
- McKoon, G., & Ratcliff, R. (1992). Inference during reading. Psychological Review, 99, 440-466.
- Glenberg, A.M., Meyer, M., & Lindem, K. (1987). Mental models contribute to foregrounding during text comprehension. Journal of Memory and Language, 26, 69-83.
- Johnson-Laird, P.N. (1983). Mental models . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Perfetti, C., Yang, C., & Schmalhofer, F. (2007). Comprehension Skill and Word-to-Text Integration Processes. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 21(December 2006), 1057–1075. http://doi.org/10.1002/acp