David Rapp's New Book Tells Why People Rely on Misinformation

David Rapp's New Book Tells Why People Rely on Misinformation

Processing Inaccurate Information

Sometimes people rely on information that’s just plain wrong — even when they know it’s wrong. Why this happens and how to prevent it is the subject of a new book co-edited by professor David Rapp called Processing Inaccurate Information.

“The goal of the current book is to survey the field of research, and provide guiding explanatory models and principles that can reduce the influence of inaccurate information,” says Rapp.

 “A lot of what we read and view includes inaccurate, incomplete and flawed information,” Rapp explains. He notes that the growing influence of social media as a source of news and general information has served to increase our potential exposure to such inaccuracies.  

Processing Inaccurate Information explores theoretical and applied perspectives on the processing of misinformation. Contributors analyze such topics as what happens cognitively when readers encounter misinformation, why reliance on inaccuracy occurs frequently, and how to avoid reliance on misinformation.

Rapp co-edited the book, published by MIT Press, with Jason L. G. Braasch, who is assistant professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Memphis.

A psychologist, Rapp is a professor in both the Learning Sciences program at the School of Education and Social Policy, and the Department of Psychology, at Northwestern University. His program of research examines how the processes of comprehension function both successfully and unsuccessfully during learning experiences.

The goal of Rapp’s work is to describe the complex interactions between learning processes and learning experiences that drive comprehension, and to influence those factors to increase learning.

To address this goal, he pursues research at the intersection of cognitive science and educational psychology. Some of his studies examine the role of readers’ background knowledge and expectations in the comprehension and representation of text. In a second type of research, Rapp examines conditions that foster learning from text. Finally, he also applies his research findings to the design of effective educational interventions and teaching methodologies.

By Marilyn Sherman and MIT Press
Last Modified: 11/13/14