In One Ear and Out the Other: The Correction of Psychology Misconceptions and Our Mind’s Resistance to It. Samuel Erickson & Karla A. Lassonde, Faculty Mentor Department of Psychology, Minnesota State University, Mankato. Refutational Texts
and Our Mind’s Resistance to It
Samuel Erickson & Karla A. Lassonde, Faculty Mentor
Department of Psychology, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Introduction: Jeremy was finishing up with his biopsychology multiple-choice exam. He had time to spare so he decided to check over all his answers. As he looked at each question he felt confident about most of his answers. However, he was second guessing his answers on a handful of questions. Jeremy considered changing his answers. He remembered being told it is best to stick with your first choice so he didn’t. When he got his exam back he asked the teacher whether it was best to change an answer on a multiple-choice test or best to stick with your initial choice.
Refutation: The teacher said that it is widely accepted among students that changing answers on a multiple-choice test could actually lower your score. She wanted to explain to Jeremy this was actually not true.
Non-refutation: The teacher told Jeremy that he was smart for carefully considering the answers to questions before turning his exam in. She told him she would point out some specific study methods to help.
Correct Outcome: She said if you are unsure of an answer it is best to switch from an initial hunch.
Spillover: She told him he would do better next time.
Closing: Jeremy was happy to have met with his teacher after the exam. He told her that he had a lot to learn about testing and was hopeful to continue to make progress.
Comprehension Question: Did Jeremy take an exam?
Refutation text competed with prior knowledge about the misconception in memory and readers had less trouble processing the outcome sentence.
Reading these texts led to temporary knowledge revision.
Compared to the previous average of senior psychology students of 53%, our participants composed of both introductory and senior students averaged 71% correct after reading. The beauty of this method is that it can easily be applied in the classroom, and can complement traditional teaching.
Potential problems that we must address is that this method’s assessment is done by a True/False questionnaire. An issue in using T/F questions is that students are liable to guess on the answer. To correct for this, we will need to further investigate each individual’s data to search for continuity or guessing.
Current research we are doing investigates the effectiveness of including not only refutation in passages but explanation behind the refutation.
Further longitudinal studies are also need to assess the long term effectiveness of this method.
There is a striking prevalence of misconceptions among Psychology students. Experience in psychology courses appears to help revise some misconceptions; however more needs to be done outside of traditional teaching.