Pupils learn by watching historical flicks, but repeat factual errors portrayed within them

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Washington, Aug 6 (ANI): Learning history by watching historically based blockbuster movies can make students to repeat mistakes portrayed in the flicks, reveals a new study from Washington University in St. Louis.

The study has suggested that showing popular history movies in a classroom setting can be a double-edged sword when it comes to helping students learn and retain factual information in associated textbooks.

"We found that when information in the film was consistent with information in the text, watching the film clips increased correct recall by about 50 percent relative to reading the text alone," said Andrew Butler, a psychology doctoral student in Arts and Sciences.

"In contrast, when information in the film directly contradicted the text, people often falsely recalled the misinformation portrayed in the film, sometimes as much as 50 percent of the time," he added.

The research has focussed on how cognitive psychology can be applied to enhance educational practice.

Butler noted that teachers could save students from adverse impact of movies that play fast and loose with historical fact.

However, he said that general warning might not be sufficient.

"The misleading effect occurred even when people were reminded of the potentially inaccurate nature of popular films right before viewing the film. However, the effect was completely negated when a specific warning about the particular inaccuracy was provided before the film," said Butler.

"These results have implications for the common educational practice of using popular films as an instructional aid.

"Although films may increase learning and interest in the classroom, educators should be aware that students might learn inaccurate information, too, even if the correct information has been presented in a text. More broadly, these same positive and negative effects apply to the consumption of popular history films by the general public," he concluded.

The study has been published in the journal Psychological Science. (ANI)

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