Reducing reliance on inaccurate information

David N. Rapp, Scott R. Hinze, Kristine Kohlhepp, Rachel A. Ryskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


People learn from the texts that they read, but sometimes what they read is wrong. Previous research has demonstrated that individuals encode even obvious inaccuracies, at times relying on the misinformation to complete postreading tasks. In the present study, we investigated whether the influence of inaccurate information might be reduced by encouraging the retrieval of accurate knowledge. Participants read an extended text that contained both accurate and inaccurate assertions, after which they evaluated the validity of statements associated with those assertions. In general, participants made more mistakes in their evaluations of statements after having read inaccurate as compared to accurate assertions, offering evidence of the influence of misinformation. However, when participants were tasked with correcting inaccuracies during reading, their mistakes were substantially reduced. Encouraging the retrieval of accurate knowledge during reading can reduce the influence of misinformation. These findings are discussed with respect to the contributions of episodic traces and prior knowledge on learning, as well as to the conditions that support successful comprehension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-26
Number of pages16
JournalMemory and Cognition
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Persuasion
  • Prior knowledge
  • Reading comprehension
  • Text processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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