Metacomprehension judgements reflect the belief that diagrams improve learning from text

Michael J. Serra, John Dunlosky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


In two experiments we systematically explored whether people consider the format of text materials when judging their text learning, and whether doing so might inappropriately bias their judgements. Participants studied either text with diagrams (multimedia) or text alone and made both per-paragraph judgements and global judgements of their text learning. In Experiment 1 they judged their learning to be better for text with diagrams than for text alone. In that study, however, test performance was greater for multimedia, so the judgements may reflect either a belief in the power of multimedia or on-line processing. Experiment 2 replicated this finding and also included a third group that read texts with pictures that did not improve text performance. Judgements made by this group were just as high as those made by participants who received the effective multimedia format. These results confirm the hypothesis that people's metacomprehension judgements can be influenced by their beliefs about text format. Overreliance on this multimedia heuristic, however, might reduce judgement accuracy in situations where it is invalid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)698-711
Number of pages14
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2010


  • Diagrams
  • Heuristics
  • Metacognition
  • Metacomprehension
  • Multimedia learning


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