How can we use counter evidence effectively in order to rectify learners' misconceptions? Effectiveness of the "unified method"

Toshihiko Shindo, Keiichi Magara, Yohji Fushimi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Two types of teaching methods for rectifying learners' misconceptions have been proposed. They vary in whether counter evidence is or is not utilized. However, because both methods have weak points, we propose, in the present study, a "unified method," that is, a new method that unifies the 2 previous methods. With the unified method, learners are first presented a problem that they could not solve correctly because of some misconception ; they then are presented another similar problem that they can solve correctly. On the basis of that correct response, they are led to find the correct rule for solving the problem, and are also encouraged to apply the rule to a series of similar problems. The present study compares the effectiveness of the unified method and the 2 previous methods for rectifying learners' misconceptions. Undergraduates (N = 76), most of whom had the misconception that vacuums draw substances into them, were allocated to 1 of 3 groups. The unified method had better results than the 2 other methods in the following respects : (1) it rectified the learners' misconceptions most effectively, (2) it made the learners aware that their previous knowledge (i.e., their misconception) had been replaced by a correct idea, and (3) it aroused their interest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-173
Number of pages12
JournalJapanese Journal of Educational Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Jun



  • Conceptual change
  • Misconceptions
  • Teaching strategy
  • Undergraduates
  • Unified method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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