The Persistence of a Misconception About Vision After Educational Interventions

Psychon Bull Rev. 2001 Sep;8(3):622-6. doi: 10.3758/bf03196199.


Children and adults, like many ancient philosophers, believe that seeing involves emissions from the eye. Several experiments tested the strength of these "extramission" beliefs to determine whether they, like other scientific misconceptions, are resistant to educational experiences. Traditional college-level education had little impact. Presenting a simplified lesson, stressing visual input, and a lesson directly counteracting the vision misconception had an impact, but for older participants the effect was evident only on short-term tests. Despite some gain due to learning, overall the results demonstrated the robustness of extramission beliefs.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Culture*
  • Education*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Retention, Psychology
  • Vision, Ocular*