The popularity of science education is decreasing in certain parts of the world and negative attitudes toward science are common in learners from various cultures. Learners’ interest in science and the effectiveness of their memory can be enhanced by utilizing modern concepts of an evolutionary-based approach in psychology. Survival-relevant information is, according to a number of authors, better retained than survival-irrelevant information. It is, however, unclear as to which degree the information retention is influenced by visual signs associated with danger.
Materials and methods:
We experimentally manipulated danger information (genuine/ false information) and type of information (survival-relevant/survival-irrelevant) in a sample of 12-16 year old Slovak children.
Information concerning dangerous animals was retained better than information about non-dangerous animals and survival-relevant information was retained better than survival-irrelevant information. The information itself, however, did not enhance memory scores, because false information about non-dangerous animals (i.e., presented as dangerous) led to lower scores than false information about dangerous animals (i.e., presented as non-dangerous).
These results suggest that children adaptively retain survival-relevant information, but information retention is influenced by visual signs of danger. Utilisation of the evolutionary-based approach in science education is discussed.
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