• Question: Hi Everyone, I'm new to this and I'm helping my daughter revise for her GCSE's this summer. I'm using flash cards which is an effective tool for her. When using True and False flash cards. I notice she remembers more consistently information when the answer is false. Does the brain register a disagreement better than an agreement ? Vince

    Asked by vtats1000 to Iroise, Kelly, Kinga, Lucía, Nicola, Rebecca on 27 Feb 2018.
    • Photo: Nicola Botting

      Nicola Botting answered on 27 Feb 2018:

      Hi Vince,

      I don’t know of any research that says mismatch is easier per se (and indeed many studies rely on same/different judgements being equally difficult) but my colleagues here might know otherwise. However there is definitely evidence that suggests brains register salient information more readily; and also that pieces of information that are quite similar to one another can interfere with us remembering each one well. So it could be that the false ones are easier to guess because making up false facts about a topic could be more difficult for the designer to do without making it more obvious: It might be that the false facts on these flashcards are less similar to the true facts in some way

      It also might reflect a strategy your daughter is using for the flashcards. For example, if she said ‘false’ every time, she would be 100% correct for False statements and 0% correct for True ones. I’m sure she isn’t answering in that extreme way, but she may be guessing False more often than is represented in the statements themselves.

      The type of revision that true/false cards offer is ‘recognition’. So it also may be that your daughter can spot facts she hasn’t learned, but this is not necessarily the same as being able to ‘recall’ the right (rather than false) facts when asked. It would be interesting to try revising that way around as well.

      Good luck with the GCSEs!