Using popular films to enhance classroom learning: Mnemonic effects of monitoring misinformation

Journal Article (Academic article)

History educators often use popular films in the classroom to teach critical thinking through an exercise that involves identifying historical inaccuracies in the films. We investigated how this exercise affects the acquisition of true and false historical knowledge. In two experiments, subjects studied texts about historical topics and watched clips from corresponding films. Each film contained one piece of information that contradicted the text (i.e., misinformation). Some subjects received instructions to monitor for inaccuracies in the films. After a delay, they were tested on the texts. Monitoring instructions did not reduce subjects’ acquisition of misinformation, and even when subjects successfully detected the inaccuracies, they sometimes still reproduced the misinformation. However, when they received feedback about the inaccuracies, the production of misinformation was substantially reduced. Overall, these findings indicate that educators should provide feedback when using popular films for this critical thinking exercise so that students do not acquire false knowledge.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Umanath, S; Butler, AC; Marsh, EJ

Published Date

  • 2012

Published In

  • Applied Cognitive Psychology

Volume / Issue

  • 26 /

Start / End Page

  • 556 - 567