, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 1238-1244
Date: 12 Oct 2011

The hypercorrection effect persists over a week, but high-confidence errors return

Abstract

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 this effect persists over a 1-week delay. Subjects answered general-knowledge questions about science, rated their confidence in each response, and received correct answer feedback. Half of the subjects reanswered the same questions immediately, while the other half reanswered them after a 1-week delay. The hypercorrection effect occurred on both the immediate and delayed final tests, but error correction decreased on the delayed test. When subjects failed to correct an error on the delayed test, they sometimes reproduced the same error from the initial test. Interestingly, high-confidence errors were more likely than low-confidence errors to be reproduced on the delayed test. These findings help to contextualize the hypercorrection effect within the broader memory literature by showing that high-confidence errors are more likely to be corrected, but they are also more likely to be reproduced if the correct answer is forgotten.