Overcoming elders' misconceptions about accurate written medical information

Morris A. Okun, G. Elizabeth Rice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The authors investigated long-term memory for true written information about osteoarthritis that disconfirms the reader's erroneous prior beliefs. Independent variables included information type (text affirms the readers correct belief or disconfirms the reader's erroneous belief), signaling (disconfirming information either signaled or not signaled in the text), and belief repetition (target beliefs either assessed or not assessed immediately after reading the passages). The relation between the reader's attitudinal flexibility and long-term memory was also examined. Participants were 85 adults (65-80 years old) who self-reported having osteoarthritis for at least 2 years. The authors found (a) disconfirming information was less accurately recognized and recalled than affirming information, (b) repetition of beliefs enhanced accurate recognition of disconfirming information and interacted with signaling to increase revision of misconceptions, and (c) attitudinal flexibility was significantly (p < .05) correlated with both accurate recognition of disconfirming information (r = .32) and revision of misconceptions (r = .26).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-70
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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