• Nicola Ariasi
  • Lucia MasonEmail author


This study extends current research on the refutation text effect by investigating it in learners with different levels of working memory capacity. The purpose is to outline the link between online processes (revealed by eye fixation indices) and off-line outcomes in these learners. In science education, unlike a standard text, a refutation text acknowledges readers’ alternative conceptions about a topic, refutes them, and presents scientific conceptions as viable alternatives. Lower and higher memory span university students with alternative conceptions about the topic read either a refutation or a non-refutation text about tides. Off-line measures of learning revealed that both groups of refutation text readers attained higher knowledge gains. During the reading process, refutation text readers fixated for longer on the refutation segments while reading the parts presenting the scientific information (look-froms). Non-refutation text readers looked back to the informational parts for longer. Look-froms (positively) and reading time (negatively) predicted learning from refutation text, indicating that the quality, not quantity, of reading was related to it. In contrast, learning from non-refutation text was predicted only by working memory capacity. The refutation effect is discussed and educational implications are drawn.


eye movements reading comprehension refutation text science text working memory capacity 


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Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PaduaPaduaItaly

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