Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Campbell, Cynthia

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment (ETRA)


This thesis examined to what extent the supraliminal, semantic priming of undergraduate introductory psychology students’ metacognitive and critical thinking skills predicts their ability to dispel common psychological myths and misconceptions. This thesis also investigated to what extent undergraduate introductory psychology students’ personality traits predict their ability to dispel common psychological myths and misconceptions. Fitting standard and hierarchical regression models, this study found that, although gender, age, year in school, and college-generation status were not significant covariates, persons of color typically exemplified greater endorsement of psychological misconceptions than their White / Caucasian peers. Also, compassion (an aspect of the agreeableness trait on the Big Five), orderliness (an aspect of conscientiousness), and intellect (an aspect of openness / intellect) significantly predicted endorsement of psychological misconceptions: as compassion decreased, orderliness increased, or intellect decreased, endorsement of psychological misconceptions increased. Controlling for these demographic and personality covariates, however, the prime condition was not a significant predictor of endorsement of psychological misconceptions. Those who received metacognitive- and critical-thinking-based words did not demonstrate a different level of endorsement of psychological misconceptions than those who received neutral words. Despite this, 48.05% of the variation in the endorsement of psychological misconceptions was explained by this complete set of predictors. In terms of the potentially-metacognitively-advanced response of selecting “don’t know” on the misconceptions test, as students’ year level of college when they took an introductory psychology course increased, their frequency of endorsement of the “don’t know” response similarly increased. Also, as orderliness decreased, endorsement of the “don’t know” response increased. Again, controlling for demographic and personality covariates, the prime condition did not significantly predict endorsement of the “don’t know” response on the psychological misconceptions test. Nevertheless, it is evident that a majority of undergraduate introductory psychology students still endorse and believe in many common psychological myths and misconceptions.


135 pages




Northern Illinois University

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