Source credibility and the processing of refutation texts

Martin Van Boekel, Karla A. Lassonde, Edward J. O’Brien, Panayiota Kendeou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The knowledge revision components framework (KReC) outlines the basic comprehension processes and text factors that can be accentuated to increase the potential for knowledge revision during reading. The goal of the present study was to explore source credibility as one such text factor. In Experiment 1, we established the utility of a set of refutation texts in influencing knowledge revision. Participants read ten refutation and ten control texts. The participants had faster reading times and higher posttest scores for the refutation than for the control texts, providing evidence for knowledge revision. In Experiment 2, we examined the influence of source credibility under normal reading conditions. Participants read 20 refutation texts, ten with high-credibility and ten with low-credibility sources. The reading times and posttest scores suggested that knowledge revision unfolded successfully, independent of credibility. Using the same texts, in Experiment 3 we examined the influence of direct instructions that made the credibility of the source of information more salient. When the credibility of the source was made salient, the revision process was disrupted in the low-credibility condition, as evidenced by slower reading times and lower posttest scores than in the high-credibility condition. The results add to our understanding of the factors that constrain knowledge revision during the reading of refutation texts, and are discussed in the context of the extant literature and KReC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-181
Number of pages14
JournalMemory and Cognition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Psychonomic Society, Inc.


  • Knowledge revision
  • Misconceived knowledge
  • Reading
  • Refutation texts
  • Text processing


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