Throughout the 1990s, two opposing theories were used to explain how people understand texts, later bridged by the Landscape Model of reading (van den Broek, Young, Tzeng, & Linderholm, 1999). A review is offered below, including a schematic representation of the Landscape Model.
Memory-based view The memory-based view presented reading as an autonomous, unconscious, effortless process. Readers were purported to achieve an understanding of a text as a whole by combining the concepts, and implications readily afforded, in the text with their own background knowledge (Myers & O’Brien, 1998; O’Brien & Myers, 1999).
Research has extensively investigated whether conceptual processing is modality-specific—that is, whether meaning is processed to a large extent on the basis of perceptual and motor affordances (Barsalou, 2016). This possibility challenges long-established theories. It suggests a strong link between physical experience and language which is not borne out of the paradigmatic arbitrariness of words (see Lockwood, Dingemanse, & Hagoort, 2016). Modality-specificity also clashes with models of language that have no link to sensory and motor systems (Barsalou, 2016).