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Hypercorrection of high-confidence errors in the classroom

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People often have erroneous knowledge about the world that is firmly entrenched in memory and endorsed with high confidence. Although strong errors in memory would seem difficult to “un-learn,” evidence suggests that errors are more likely to be corrected through feedback when they are originally endorsed with high confidence compared to low confidence. This hypercorrection effect has been predominantly studied in laboratory settings with general knowledge (i.e., trivia) questions, however, and has not been systematically explored in authentic classroom contexts. In the current study, college students in an introductory horticulture class answered questions about the course content, rated their confidence in their answers, received feedback of the correct answers, and then later completed a posttest. Results revealed a significant hypercorrection effect, along with a tendency for students with higher prior knowledge of the material to express higher confidence in, and in turn more effective correction of, their error responses.
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Keywords: Hypercorrection; error correction; learning; memory; metacognition

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA 2: Department of Horticulture, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA

Publication date: November 26, 2018

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