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Kelli Mahoney

Impact of a Film on the Memory of a Student

By August 16, 2009

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A recent study shows that students often substitute what they see in a film with what is really historical fact - even if the facts are right in front of them. Somehow the mind allows them to retain what they see on the screen better than what they read in a textbook. While the thought of us being that influenced by Hollywood can be scary (mostly because films often get history or fact wrong), there is an upside to films having the ability to help students retain information.

When films are accurate, their use can be warranted to help enhance student learning. In fact, the study showed that when historical fact in the film matched the textbook, the students had 50 percent greater recall of the material. If there were warnings about the specific films being inaccurate (not general warnings, but ones that discussed that particular film), the information gleaned could still be beneficial.

This means that some of those films you watch in History or English class can be helping you remember important facts and they're not just filling time. Yet, the study also points out what most of us already know - you can't believe everything you see on screen. As with most aspects of our faith and our life, we have to dig deeper and not rely on what's on the surface.

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