In this research, we investigated relationships between undergraduate students’ prior topic beliefs and their recall of the main conclusions from texts on controversial socio-scientific issues, to what extent students trusted the recalled conclusions, and how they justified their trust in those conclusions. While belief-biased recall of text conclusions was not observed in this study, students were found to trust the recalled conclusions more when they were consistent than when they were inconsistent with students’ prior beliefs about the issues. Moreover, students primarily justified their trust in the recalled conclusions by referring to their personal opinions on the issues. Finally, students who correctly recalled text conclusions even when those conclusions were at odds with their prior beliefs about the issues outperformed students who incorrectly recalled conclusions that were consistent with their prior beliefs on measures of cognitive reflection and reported use of critical reading strategies. Theoretical as well as educational implications of these findings are discussed.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Nordic Psychology on 21 Jun 2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/19012276.2016.1198270