Honors College Theses

Date

2021

Major

Psychology (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Karen Naufel

Abstract

People may believe in myths such as “you only use 10% of your brain” that are related to psychology. Additionally, belief in these myths may prevail despite education, or in some cases, because of education. Indeed, some research suggests students acquired false memories by remembering the wrong answers instead of the correct information (Nitschke et al., 2019). However, research on how leading questions affects memory can provide insight to this problem. Specifically, research shows that subjects who are presented with leading questions or content are more likely to recall an event consistent with that question (Miller & Loftus, 1976). Such research may provide a mechanism for how to encourage students to remember correct information as opposed to myths. Specifically, the structure of test questions as leading questions for students to retain correct information could be formatted to maximize memory for the misconceptions in most popular psychology myths. Thus, the present study aims to test the extent that leading questions affects memory for myths and facts. Based on previous research, it is predicted that certain leading questions can improve memory and correct for myths. The results did not support this hypothesis; however, this could be due to a small sample size, question structure, or single administration of manipulation. Discrepancies between groups showed potential reasons across test questions on literacy misinterpretation. Regardless, these findings could help shape how instructors structure new test questions and present information to people for them to retain the correct information.

Thesis Summary

People may believe in myths such as “you only use 10% of your brain” that are related to psychology. Studies have shown that students acquired these myths through false memories by remembering the wrong answers instead of the correct information (Nitschke et al., 2019). However, research on providing test subjects with leading questions allowed people to recall an event consistent with that question (Miller & Loftus, 1976). This aided in the present study aims to test the extent that leading questions affects memory for myths and facts. Results did not support this hypothesis; however, this could be due to a small sample size, question structure, or single administration of manipulation. egardless, these findings could help shape how instructors structure new test questions and present information to people for them to retain the correct information.

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