ERIC Number: ED395278
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Reading Processing Strategies Employed To Comprehend Text Both Consistent and Inconsistent with Subjects' Prior Beliefs.
Howell, Karen L.; Kardash, CarolAnne M.
A study examined how beliefs and attitudes influence the processing of information: people tend to distort contradictory information to make it consistent with their pre-existing beliefs and attitudes and to use it to bolster their initially held convictions. The study addressed the degree to which people believed that HIV causes AIDS. Subjects, 27 female and 13 male undergraduate students in an educational psychology course, rated the degree to which they agreed with the statement, "HIV causes AIDS," using a 9-point Likert type scale. Of the 40 subjects, 28 believed that HIV causes AIDS. Subsequent data analyses were based only on responses of these 28 subjects. Tape-recorded responses to text, as they read it aloud, from the 28 students were transcribed verbatim. Twenty-four hours after reading the text, subjects were asked to complete a test of free recall of information presented in the text. Results indicated that subjects employed strategies that helped to develop intrasentential ties significantly more on the paragraphs that contained information at odds with their existing beliefs than they did on paragraphs that presented information consistent with those beliefs. Findings revealed that the students tended to accept "confirming" evidence at face value while subjecting "disconfirming" evidence to harsher judgment. (Includes 2 tables of data; contains 10 references.) (CR)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, April 8-12, 1996).