Examining my-side bias during and after reading controversial historical accounts

Kalypso Iordanou, Panayiota Kendeou, Michalinos Zembylas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The present study examines individuals’ thinking during and after reading controversial historical accounts and the possible contribution of epistemic beliefs, emotions, and prior-knowledge in this context. Young adults (n = 39) were asked to read two accounts about a recent war in their country, an own-side account – from a historian of their ethnic group – and an other-side account – from a historian from the adversary ethnic group. Participants were asked to think-aloud and report their emotions during reading. After reading, participants were asked to write a summary. Results showed that participants exhibited my-side bias during reading and writing, while there were also interesting individual differences in epistemic beliefs and prior knowledge. Participants with evaluativist epistemic beliefs were less likely to show my-side bias in the writing task. Epistemic beliefs, along with prior knowledge and the emotion of anger, predicted also low-epistemic processing during reading of other-side text. The paper concludes with a discussion of the educational implications in promoting critical thinking about controversial issues in history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-342
Number of pages24
JournalMetacognition and Learning
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).


  • Biases
  • Emotion
  • Epistemic beliefs
  • History
  • My-side bias
  • Prior knowledge
  • Reasoning


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