Elizabeth J Marsh

Elizabeth J Marsh
Duke University | DU · Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

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118
Publications
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Publications

Publications (118)
Article
Information changes: science advances, newspapers retract claims, and recommendations shift. Successfully navigating the world requires updating and changing beliefs, a process that is sensitive to a person’s motivation to change their beliefs as well as the credibility of the source providing the new information. Here, we report three studies that...
Article
Much of our day is spent mind-wandering—periods of inattention characterized by a lack of awareness of external stimuli and information. Whether we are paying attention or not, information surrounds us constantly—some true and some false. The proliferation of false information in news and social media highlights the critical need to understand the...
Article
Why do consumers sometimes fall for spurious claims – e.g., brain training games that prevent cognitive decline, toning sneakers that sculpt one's body, flower essence that cures depression – and how can consumers protect themselves in the modern world where information is shared quickly and easily? As cognitive scientists, we view this problem thr...
Article
Our beliefs about aging affect how we interact with others. For example, people know that episodic memory declines with age, and as a result, older adults’ memories are less likely to be trusted. However, not all aspects of remembering decline with age; semantic memory (knowledge) increases across adulthood and is relatively unaffected in healthy a...
Article
Learning often happens in ideal conditions, but then must be applied in less-than-ideal conditions – such as when a learner studies clearly illustrated examples of rocks in a book but then must identify them in a muddy field. Here we examine whether the benefits of interleaving (vs. blocking) study schedules, as well as the use of feature descripti...
Article
People consume, remember, and discuss not only memories of lived experiences, but also events from works of fiction, such as books, movies, and TV shows. We argue that these memories of fiction represent an important category of event memory, best understood within an autobiographical memory framework. How do fictional events yield psychological re...
Article
In this article, we highlight an underappreciated individual difference: structure building. Structure building is integral to many everyday activities and involves creating coherent mental representations of conversations, texts, pictorial stories, and other events. People vary in this ability in a way not generally captured by other better known...
Article
People externalize their autobiographical memories by creating representations that exist outside of their minds. Externalizations often serve personal and social functions, consistent with theorized functions of autobiographical memory. With new digital technologies, people are documenting more memories than ever and are sharing them with larger a...
Article
Knowing when and how to most effectively use writing as a learning tool requires understanding the cognitive processes driving learning. Writing is a generative activity that often requires students to elaborate upon and organise information. Here we examine what happens when a standard short writing task is (or is not) combined with a known mnemon...
Article
Culture plays a significant role in determining what people believe and claim to know. Here, we argue that, in addition to shaping what people come to know, culture influences the accessibility of that knowledge. In five studies, we examined how activating participants’ American identities (a cultural identity) influenced their ability to retrieve...
Article
Data visualizations and graphs are increasingly common in both scientific and mass media settings. While graphs are useful tools for communicating patterns in data, they also have the potential to mislead viewers. In five studies, we provide empirical evidence that y-axis truncation leads viewers to perceive illustrated differences as larger (i.e.,...
Article
Objective Recent studies on atypical interoceptive capabilities have focused on clinical populations, including anorexia nervosa[1,2]. The present exploratory study aims to characterize the influence of disordered eating symptomology on interoceptive capabilities in college students, a population for which dangerous dieting behaviors may emerge. M...
Article
Cheating has become commonplace in academia and beyond. Yet, almost everyone views themselves favorably, believing that they are honest, trustworthy, and of high integrity. We investigate one possible explanation for this apparent discrepancy between people's actions and their favorable self-concepts: People who cheat on tests believe that they kne...
Article
Objective: Inadequate nutrition adversely impacts brain development and cognitive functioning (Pollitt et al., 1983). Studies examining the acute impact of eating regular meals on cognition have reported inconsistent findings, necessitating the exploration of individual differences in samples contributing to equivocal results. The present study ex...
Article
Students learn large amounts of information, but not all of it is remembered after courses end – meaning that valuable class time is often spent reviewing background material. Crucially, laboratory research suggests different strategies will be effective when reactivating previously learned information (marginal knowledge; Berger, Hall, & Bahrick,...
Article
People differ in their beliefs about the objectivity of moral claims. We investigated a possible psychological antecedent that might be associated with people's beliefs about the objectivity of moral claims. More specifically, we examined the relationship between the endorsement of moral objectivism and one's need to see the world as structured, or...
Article
Full-text available
Deceptive claims surround us, embedded in fake news, advertisements, political propaganda, and rumors. How do people know what to believe? Truth judgments reflect inferences drawn from three types of information: base rates, feelings, and consistency with information retrieved from memory. First, people exhibit a bias to accept incoming information...
Article
The internet is rapidly changing what information is available as well as how we find it and share it with others. Here we examine how this “digital expansion of the mind”__ changes cognition. We begin by identifying ten properties of the internet that likely affect cognition, roughly organized around internet content (e.g., the sheer amount of inf...
Article
Full-text available
Cambridge Core - Cognition - The Cambridge Handbook of Cognition and Education - edited by John Dunlosky
Article
The Cambridge Handbook of Cognition and Education - edited by John Dunlosky February 2019
Preprint
Regional income inequality is associated with poor academic outcomes. Using U.S. data (2005 - 2016), we explored whether inequality has psychological consequences that may harm student outcomes. Theoretically, income inequality causes excessive focus on immediate concerns, therefore we examined whether inequality is associated with increased intere...
Article
Testing oneself with flash cards, using a clicker to respond to a teacher’s questions, and teaching another student are all effective ways to learn information. These learning strategies work, in part, because they require the retrieval of information from memory, a process known to enhance later memory. However, little research has directly examin...
Article
Full-text available
Depending on a person's goals, different aspects of stored knowledge are accessed. Decades of behavioral work document the flexible use of knowledge, but little neuroimaging work speaks to these questions. We used representational similarity analysis to investigate whether the relationship between brain activity and semantic structure of statements...
Article
Judgments and decisions are frequently made under uncertainty. People often express and interpret this uncertainty with epistemic qualifiers (e.g., likely, improbable). We investigate the extent to which qualifiers influence truth judgments over time. In four studies, participants studied qualified statements, and two days later they rated the trut...
Article
Introducing variability during learning often facilitates transfer to new contexts (i.e., generalization). The goal of the present study was to explore the concept of variability in an area of research where its effects have received little attention: learning through retrieval practice. In four experiments, we investigated whether retrieval practi...
Article
Scientific contributions take many forms, not all of which result in fame or are captured in traditional metrics of success (e.g., h factor). My focus is on one of the most lasting and important contributions a scientist can make: training scientists who go on to train scientists, who in turn train more scientists, etc. Academic genealogies provide...
Article
Writing is often used as a tool for learning. However, empirical support for the benefits of writing-to-learn is mixed, likely because the literature conflates diverse activities (e.g., summaries, term papers) under the single umbrella of writing-to-learn. Following recent trends in the writing-to-learn literature, the authors focus on the underlyi...
Article
Full-text available
Consumers regularly encounter repeated false claims in political and marketing campaigns, but very little empirical work addresses their impact among older adults. Repeated statements feel easier to process, and thus more truthful, than new ones (i.e., illusory truth). When judging truth, older adults’ accumulated general knowledge may offset this...
Chapter
Humans can store, maintain, and retrieve an impressive amount of information—but the processes that support accurate knowledge can also lead to errors, such as the false belief that humans swallow eight spiders in their sleep each year. In this chapter, we review characteristics of the knowledge base and explore how five adaptive properties that su...
Article
Knowing what skills underlie college success can allow students, teachers, and universities to identify and to help at-risk students. One skill that may underlie success across a variety of subject areas is structure building, the ability to create mental representations of narratives (Gernsbacher, Varner, & Faust, ). We tested if individual differ...
Article
People frequently miss contradictions with stored knowledge; for example, readers often fail to notice any problem with a reference to the Atlantic as the largest ocean. Critically, such effects occur even though participants later demonstrate knowing the Pacific is the largest ocean (the Moses Illusion) [Erickson, T. D., & Mattson, M. E. (1981). F...
Article
The "illusory truth" effect refers to the phenomenon whereby repetition of a statement increases its likelihood of being judged true. This phenomenon has important implications for how we come to believe oft-repeated information that may be misleading or unknown. Behavioral evidence indicates that fluency or the subjective ease experienced while pr...
Article
Memory can be unreliable. For example, after reading The new baby stayed awake all night, people often misremember that the new baby cried all night (Brewer, 1977); similarly, after hearing bed, rest, and tired, people often falsely remember that sleep was on the list (Roediger & McDermott, 1995). In general, such false memories are difficult to co...
Article
In daily life, we frequently encounter false claims in the form of consumer advertisements, political propaganda, and rumors. Repetition may be one way that insidious misconceptions, such as the belief that vitamin C prevents the common cold, enter our knowledge base. Research on the illusory truth effect demonstrates that repeated statements are e...
Article
Full-text available
This introduction discusses the importance of basic science work that bridges the laboratory and the classroom. This issue includes articles that help explain the trickiness of the translation of psychological science to education.
Article
The present investigation documents memory borrowing in college-age students, defined as the telling of others' autobiographical stories as if they are one's own. In both pilot and online surveys, most undergraduates admit to borrowing personal stories from others or using details from others' experiences to embellish their own retellings. These be...
Article
Full-text available
Context affects face recognition, with people more likely to recognize an acquaintance when that person is encountered in an expected and familiar place. However, we demonstrate that a familiar context can also incorrectly lead to feeling that a stranger is known. More specifically, we asked whether a familiar place can increase the belief that a s...
Article
Full-text available
Marginal knowledge refers to knowledge that is stored in memory, but is not accessible at a given moment. For example, one might struggle to remember who wrote The Call of the Wild, even if that knowledge is stored in memory. Knowing how best to stabilize access to marginal knowledge is important, given that new learning often requires accessing an...
Article
Educators and researchers who study human learning often assume that feedback is most effective when given immediately. However, a growing body of research has challenged this assumption by demonstrating that delaying feedback can facilitate learning. Advocates for immediate feedback have questioned the generalizability of this finding, suggesting...
Article
Older adults have a harder time than younger adults remembering specific events and experiences (episodic memory), whereas the ability to use one's general knowledge either improves or remains stable over the life span. Our focus is on the sometimes overlooked but critical possibility that this intact general knowledge can facilitate older adults'...
Article
Surprisingly, people incorporate errors into their knowledge bases even when they have the correct knowledge stored in memory (e.g., Fazio, Barber, Rajaram, Ornstein, & Marsh, 2013). We examined whether heightening the accessibility of correct knowledge would protect people from later reproducing misleading information that they encountered in fict...
Article
The most effective educational interventions often face significant barriers to widespread implementation because they are highly specific, resource intense, and/or comprehensive. We argue for an alternative approach to improving education: leveraging technology and cognitive science to develop interventions that generalize, scale, and can be easil...
Article
People often pick up incorrect information about the world from movies, novels and other fictional sources. The question asked here is whether such sources are a particularly potent source of misinformation. On the one hand, story-reading involves transportation into a fictional world, with a possible reduction in access to one's prior knowledge (l...
Conference Paper
Two open, online educational platforms, OpenStax Exercises and OpenStax Tutor, are working to revolutionize the way in which students learn concepts in diverse subject areas. Born and tested in the area of signal processing education, these tools bring to bear cutting-edge ideas in cognitive science and machine learning to automatically build perso...
Article
Full-text available
Some study techniques accelerate learning, whereas others are just a waste of time—but which ones are which? An unprecedented review maps out the best pathways to knowledge
Article
Many people respond "two" to the question "How many animals of each kind did Moses take on the ark?", even though they know the reference should be to Noah. The Moses Illusion demonstrates a failure to apply stored knowledge (Erickson & Mattson, 1981). Of interest was whether older adults' robust knowledge bases would protect them from vulnerabilit...
Article
Among the many factors that influence the efficacy of feedback on learning, the information contained in the feedback message is arguably the most important. One common assumption is that there is a benefit to increasing the complexity of the feedback message beyond providing the correct answer. Surprisingly, studies that have manipulated the conte...
Article
Restudying material is a common method for learning new information, but not necessarily an effective one. Research on the testing effect shows that practice involving retrieval from memory can facilitate later memory in contrast to passive restudy. Despite extensive behavioral work, the brain processes that make retrieval an effective learning str...
Article
Full-text available
Many students are being left behind by an educational system that some people believe is in crisis. Improving educational outcomes will require efforts on many fronts, but a central premise of this monograph is that one part of a solution involves helping students to better regulate their learning through the use of effective learning techniques. F...
Article
Fictional materials are commonly used in the classroom to teach course content. Both laboratory experiments and classroom demonstrations illustrate the benefits of using fiction to help students learn accurate information about the world. However, fictional sources often contain factually inaccurate content, making them a potent vehicle for learnin...
Article
A large literature shows that retrieval practice is a powerful tool for enhancing learning and memory in undergraduates (Roediger & Karpicke, 2006a). Much less work has examined the memorial consequences of testing school-aged children. Our focus is on multiple-choice tests, which are potentially problematic since they minimise retrieval practice a...
Article
History educators often use popular films in the classroom to teach critical thinking through an exercise that involves identifying historical inaccuracies in the films. We investigated how this exercise affects the acquisition of true and false historical knowledge. In two experiments, subjects studied texts about historical topics and watched cli...
Article
Full-text available
People can acquire both true and false knowledge about the world from fictional stories. The present study explored whether the benefits and costs of learning about the world from fictional stories extend beyond memory for directly stated pieces of information. Of interest was whether readers would use correct and incorrect story references to make...
Article
A key educational challenge is how to correct students' errors and misconceptions so that they do not persist. Simply labelling an answer as correct or incorrect on a short-answer test (verification feedback) does not improve performance on later tests; error correction requires receiving answer feedback. We explored the generality of this conclusi...
Article
Most people know that the Pacific is the largest ocean on Earth and that Edison invented the light bulb. Our question is whether this knowledge is stable, or if people will incorporate errors into their knowledge bases, even if they have the correct knowledge stored in memory. To test this, we asked participants general-knowledge questions 2 weeks...
Article
This experiment tested the possibility that older adults are less susceptible to semantic illusions because they are more likely to notice contradictions with stored knowledge. Older and young adults encoded stories containing factual inaccuracies; critically, half the participants were instructed to mark any errors they noticed. Older adults repro...
Article
Children's memories improve throughout childhood, and this improvement is often accompanied by a reduction in suggestibility. In this context, it is surprising that older children learn and reproduce more factual errors from stories than do younger children (Fazio & Marsh, 200812. Fazio , L. K. , & Marsh , E. J. ( 2008 ). Older, not younger, chil...
Article
Full-text available
People's knowledge about the world often contains misconceptions that are well-learned and firmly believed. Although such misconceptions seem hard to correct, recent research has demonstrated that errors made with higher confidence are more likely to be corrected with feedback, a finding called the hypercorrection effect. We investigated whether th...
Article
Readers learn errors embedded in fictional stories and use them to answer later general knowledge questions (Marsh, Meade, & Roediger, 2003). Suggestibility is robust and occurs even when story errors contradict well-known facts. The current study evaluated whether suggestibility is linked to participants' inability to judge story content as correc...
Article
The déjà vu experience has piqued the interest of philosophers and physicians for over 150 years, and has recently begun to connect to research on fundamental cognitive mechanisms. Following a brief description of the nature of this recognition anomaly, this chapter summarizes findings from several laboratories that are related to this memory pheno...
Article
Although contradictions with stored knowledge are common in daily life, people often fail to notice them. For example, in the Moses illusion, participants fail to notice errors in questions such as "How many animals of each kind did Moses take on the Ark?" despite later showing knowledge that the Biblical reference is to Noah, not Moses. We examine...
Article
Full-text available
While often impressive, memory is far from perfect. For example, the sentence “The karate champion hit the cinder block” is often misremembered as “The karate champion broke the cinder block” (Brewer, 1977). Hearing a list of related words such as “bed, rest, tired …” leads people to claim “sleep” was presented when in fact it was not (Roediger & M...
Article
Full-text available
Multiple-choice testing has both positive and negative consequences for performance on later tests. Prior testing increases the number of questions answered correctly on a later test but also increases the likelihood that questions will be answered with lures from the previous multiple-choice test (Roediger & Marsh, 2005). Prior research has shown...
Article
Prior work suggests that receiving feedback that one's response was correct or incorrect (right/wrong feedback) does not help learners, as compared to not receiving any feedback at all (Pashler, Cepeda, Wixted, & Rohrer, 2005). In three experiments we examined the generality of this conclusion. Right/wrong feedback did not aid error correction, reg...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter, the authors make the claim that education in schools would greatly benefit from additional testing, and the need for increased testing probably increases with advancement in the educational system. By testing we mean the types of assessments (tests, essays, exercises) given in the classroom or assigned for homework. The reason we a...
Article
Teachers often lecture with presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint; however, little research has examined the effects of this new technology on learning. One issue that arises is whether or not to give students copies of the lecture slides, and if so when. A survey documented that students prefer to receive lecture slides before class,...
Article
Titchener (1928) suggested that briefly glancing at a scene could make it appear strangely familiar when it was fully processed moments later. The closest laboratory demonstration used words as stimuli, and showed that briefly glancing at a to-be-judged word increased the subject's belief that it had been presented in an earlier study list (Jacoby...
Article
Full-text available
Many thousands of students take standardized tests every year. In the current research, we asked whether answering standardized test questions affects students' later test performance. Prior research has shown both positive and negative effects of multiple-choice testing on later tests, with negative effects arising from students selecting incorrec...
Article
Full-text available
The hypercorrection effect is the finding that high-confidence errors are more likely to be corrected after feedback than are low-confidence errors (Butterfield & Metcalfe, 2001). In two experiments, we explored the idea that the hypercorrection effect results from increased attention to surprising feedback. In Experiment 1, participants were more...
Article
Full-text available
http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/False_memory
Article
Previous classroom studies have shown that the phenomenology of studied facts changes over time. However, pedagogical needs preclude both the study of errors and the separation of the effects that delay and repeated testing have on retention and retrieval experience. We addressed these issues together in an experiment where participants read storie...
Article
Full-text available
Prior research on false memories has shown that suggestibility is often reduced when the presentation rate is slowed enough to allow monitoring. We examined whether slowing presentation speed would reduce factual errors learned from fictional stories. Would subjects use the extra time to detect the errors in the stories, reducing reproduction of th...
Article
In two experiments, we demonstrate that laboratory procedures can evoke false beliefs about autobiographical experience. After shallowly processing photographs ofreal-world locations, participants returned 1 week (Experiments 1 and 2) or 3 weeks (Experiment 2) later to evaluate whether they had actually visited each of a series of new and old pictu...
Article
Early school-aged children listened to stories that contained correct and incorrect facts. All ages answered more questions correctly after having heard the correct fact in the story. Only the older children, however, produced story errors on a later general knowledge test. Source errors did not drive the increased suggestibility in older children,...