Epistemic Beliefs Moderate Mediations Among Attitudes, Prior Misconceptions, and Conceptual Change


  • James Vivian McGill University
  • Krista Renee Muis McGill University




attitudes; epistemic beliefs; conceptual change; genetically modified foods


We investigated the mediating and moderating roles of attitudes and epistemic beliefs in conceptual change during learning about genetically modified foods (GMFs). One hundred twenty undergraduate students participated. To measure misconceptions about GMFs, students first completed a prior knowledge test. Students then completed self-report inventories to measure their attitudes and topic-specific epistemic beliefs regarding GMFs. Students were then randomly assigned to read a refutation or expository text about GMFs. Following reading, students completed a test to assess conceptual change. Results of a repeated measures ANOVA revealed participants who read a refutation text changed more misconceptions at post-test than participants who read an expository text. A moderation mediation analysis revealed attitudes toward GMFs significantly mediated the relationship between prior misconceptions and conceptual change, and that this relationship was moderated by learners’ beliefs regarding the source and justification of GMFs knowledge. Theoretical and educational implications are discussed.

Author Biography

Krista Renee Muis, McGill University

Dr. Krista R. Muis is a Canada Research Chair in epistemic cognition and self-regualted learning. Her research interests are in the areas of epistemic cognition, emotion, self-regulated learning and achievement motivation in the context of mathematics and science learning. She is interested in how students’ epistemic cognition and emotions influence various facets of learning, motivation, and academic performance. She also explores how individuals process complex, contradictory content on socio-scientific issues such as climate change, genetically modified foods, and vaccinations. She examines what role misconceptions play when learning about these topics, and how beliefs and emotions facilitate or constrain learning under these conditions. Her research is conducted in the lab as well as in classroom contexts with students ranging from kindergarten to adult learners.




How to Cite

Vivian, J., & Muis, K. R. (2020). Epistemic Beliefs Moderate Mediations Among Attitudes, Prior Misconceptions, and Conceptual Change. Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal, 7(6), 87–105. https://doi.org/10.14738/assrj.76.7882