Reducing Interference From Misconceptions: The Role of Inhibition in Knowledge Revision

Reese M Butterfuss, Panayiota Kendeou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The goal of the present set of experiments was to identify the conditions under which readers evoked prepotent-response inhibition to prevent interference from reactivated misconceptions. In Experiment 1, participants with varying inhibition ability read refutation texts that addressed common misconceptions and control texts. Overall, participants read target sentences that stated the correct idea faster in the refutation texts than in the control texts, suggesting that refutation texts were sufficient to reduce interference from misconceptions and facilitate knowledge revision. In the control texts, participants with higher inhibition ability read target sentences slower than participants with lower inhibition ability, suggesting that participants with higher inhibition ability may have engaged in some extra processing to cope with the interference from misconceptions. In Experiment 2, we used a probe-verification paradigm to evaluate the extent to which readers' misconceptions were indeed reactivated during reading of the control texts. Results showed no evidence of reactivation in the refutation texts, but misconceptions continued to be reactivated in the control texts. Taken together, these findings suggest that prepotentresponse inhibition may be one means by which readers manage interference from reactivated misconceptions from prior knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • Inhibition
  • Knowledge revision
  • Misconceptions
  • Refutation text


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