The Science of Hypercorrection

If you're (factually) wrong, it turns out that you'd remember the correct information much longer if at the beginning, you're convinced that you're right. Actually, the more convinced you are, the longer you'd remember the correction.

That's the hypercorrection effect - so in other words, it's kind of like the wronger you are, the smarter you get.

Now, scientists have shed some lights on the brain process involved:

To understand hypercorrection, says cognitive psychologist Janet Metcalfe at Columbia University, "suppose I ask you, 'What is the capital of Canada ?' and you say 'Toronto. ' I say, 'How confident are you?' and you say, 'Very highly confident.' When I then tell you that actually the capital is Ottawa, you're very likely to remember it— not just a few minutes later but weeks later, and maybe for much longer, we think."

Scientists reason that in hypercorrection, after people discover that ideas they felt very sure about were not in fact correct, the surprise and embarrassment they feel makes them pay special attention to alternative responses about which they felt less confident . People then go on to take the corrected information to heart, learning from their errors.

"In contrast, if I asked you a question to which you gave a not-very-confident answer, like, perhaps, 'What color does amethyst turn when it is heated?' and you say, 'blue' with low confidence, when I tell you that it's actually yellow, you're not very likely to remember it," Metcalfe says.


Newest 2
Newest 2 Comments

I have a low ability to believe things strongly, so does this mean that my memory is generally substandard?On the other hand my capacity for shame is high, so maybe my memory would be generally excellent.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"The Science of Hypercorrection"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More