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Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1027/0044-3409.215.4.237

Communicating expert knowledge to a lay addressee in writing is a demanding task that requires a great deal of mental effort. This article reports on a study in which experts were prompted to reflect either on a text they had produced (content focus condition) or on its comprehensibility to a layperson (recipient focus condition). A software tool highlighted the specialist terms or concepts used by the expert writers and guided the reflection process. Subsequent to this reflection phase, writers had the opportunity to revise their texts. Experts in the recipient focus condition significantly expanded their texts and made more meaningful revisions. For example, they were more likely than experts in the content focus condition to explain central concepts in their revision. Results are discussed from the perspective of writing theories and in terms of their practical implications for written knowledge communication.

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