ERIC Number: EJ697993
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
A Fair and Balanced Look at the News: What Affects Memory for Controversial Arguments?
Journal of Memory and Language, v53 n1 p95-109 Jul 2005
This research demonstrates how prior knowledge may allow for qualitative differences in representation of texts about controversial issues. People often experience a memory bias in favor of information with which they agree. In several experiments it was found that individuals with high prior knowledge about the topic were better able to recall arguments on both sides of a controversial issue (the legality of abortion, US military action in the Persian Gulf, the OJ Simpson case). Being able to integrate new information into a coherent representation seems to be one of the main advantages of prior knowledge on text comprehension. Individuals with less prior knowledge tended to recall more arguments that supported their position. The final two studies extend this finding by manipulating the presentation of the arguments. The results suggest that giving readers an interleaved text (where supporting and opposing arguments are presented in a point/counterpoint fashion) eliminated differences due to knowledge.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Prior Learning, Memory, Pregnancy, Controversial Issues (Course Content), Reading Comprehension
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Publication Type: Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A