Belief in Psychological Misconceptions and Variables that May Relate to Such Beliefs

Primary Focus

This study will investigate the extent that community college students believe in several common psychological myths, the strength of those beliefs, and factors that may be associated with such beliefs. The Dependent Variable will be measured with scores on a myth belief scale designed for this study. Possible correlates that will be investigated include the following:

  • Critical reflection
  • The belief that psychology is a science
  • Number of psychology classes completed
  • Academic major
  • Several additional variables

This year’s study will include a manipulation: Does an exercise designed to activate reflective thinking reduce myth endorsement? Some participants will receive the thinking exercise prior to the Psychological Myths Scale, and some after. There are a number of hypotheses that can be formed for this study. Examples: There will be a negative correlation between belief in myths and the number of psychology courses completed. The belief that psychology is science will be negatively correlated with belief in psychological misconceptions.

Administration of Study and Participant Tracking

NEW this year: Although the research questionnaire will be in an online format, chapters are instructed to proctor the administration of the digital questionnaire in a campus computer lab. In order to assure quality data, participants must not be allowed to look up answers or multi-task. In other words, do not simply email a link to the research questionnaire to your participants and allow them to complete the study at home, at a coffee shop, or anywhere else. Have participants complete the study in a computer lab under close supervision. To assure participant confidentiality, the research questionnaire does not ask students to identify themselves by name or email. Since chapters will be administering the study in a computer lab, we suggest gathering participant names or email addresses by using a sign-in sheet as they arrive for the study. The sign-in sheet can be shared with professors who agreed to offer students extra credit for participating in the study.


Data collection will begin sometime in October 2022, as soon as our IRB proposal is approved. Data gathering will end on February 15, 2023. Participating chapters will be required to recruit a minimum of 30 participants.

Register to Participate

To participate, you must register your chapter. The research link will be sent only to registered chapters. CLICK HERE to register. The college name of registered chapters will be gathered on the research questionnaire. This will make it easier for chapter researchers to sort out data from their own participants.

Supporting Documents
  • Instructor recruitment script CLICK HERE
  • Participant recruitment script CLICK HERE
  • Informed consent CLICK HERE – this narrative is provided at the beginning of the online research questionnaire
  • Administration script CLICK HERE – this is what your Psi Beta chapter’s research students should say when they administer the online research questionnaire to participants
  • Debriefing script – this script will be provided when your chapter registers to participate
  • IRB approval from Irvine Valley College – this document will be posted as soon as we receive approval
  • Codebook – a breakdown of the items and measures participants see when completing the online research questionnaire. This information will be provided to participating chapters when the data gathering period ends (February 15, 2023)
  • Copy of the entire research questionnaire (what the participants see) – this will be provided when the data gathering period ends (February 15, 2023)
Helpful Background Literature (this reference list is far from complete- these are examples of relevant literature)

Bensley, A., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2015). What is a psychological misconception? Moving toward an empirical answer. Teaching of Psychology, 42(4), 282-292. DOI: 10.1177/0098628315603059 Cavazos, J. T., Stern, W., Stephenson, E., & Heddy, B. (2021). Myth-busing with infographics: Do creative assignments help students learn? Teaching of Psychology, 48(2), 117-123. DOI: 10.1177/0098628320977269 Cho, K. W. (2021). Predicting beliefs in psychological misconceptions with psychology knowledge and the Critical Reflection Test: A replication and extension. Teaching of Psychology,0(0), Friedrich, J. (1996). Assessing students’ perceptions of psychology as a science: Validation of a self-report measure. Teaching of Psychology, 23(1), 6-13. Furnham, A., & Hughes, D. J. (2014). Myths and misconceptions in popular psychology: Comparing psychology students and the general public. Teaching of Psychology, 41(3), 256-261. DOI: 10.1177/0098628314537984 Gaze, C. M., (2014). Popular psychological myths: A comparison of students’ beliefs across the psychology major. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 14(2), 45-60. doi: 10.14434/josotl.v14i2.3931 Kowalski, P., & Taylor, A. K. (2009). The effect of refuting misconceptions in the introductory psychology class. Teaching of Psychology, 36(3), 153-159. DOI: 10.1080/00986280902959986 Meinz, E., Tennison, J. L., & Dominguez, W. A. (2022). Teaching of Psychology, 0(0), 1-9. Thomson, K. S., & Oppenheimer, D. M. (2016). Investigating an alternate form of the cognitive reflection test. Judgment and Decision Making, 11(1), 99-113.

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