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Psychol Sci. 2009 Sep;20(9):1161-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02410.x. Epub 2009 Jul 23.

Using popular films to enhance classroom learning: the good, the bad, and the interesting.

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Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130-4899, USA.


Popular history films sometimes contain major historical inaccuracies. Two experiments investigated how watching such films influences people's ability to remember associated texts. Subjects watched film clips and studied texts about various historical topics. Whereas the texts contained only correct information, the film clips contained both correct information (consistent with the text) and misinformation (contradicted by the text). Before watching each clip, subjects received a specific warning, a general warning, or no warning about the misinformation. One week later, they returned for a cued-recall test about the texts. Watching a film clip increased correct recall of consistent information relative to recall of the same information when subjects did not see the clip. However, when the information in the film contradicted the text, subjects often (falsely) recalled misinformation from the film. The specific warning substantially reduced this misinformation effect. Teachers should use popular history films with caution and should warn students about major inaccuracies in the films.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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