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David Rapp

David Rapp

  • Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence
  • Professor, Learning Sciences
  • Professor, Department of Psychology

Annenberg Hall Room 220, 2120 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208
Curriculum Vitae

Organization or Lab

Reading Comprehension Lab

Academic Area

Learning Sciences

Research Interests

Reading comprehension; memory following learning experiences; updating prior knowledge; the acquisition of accurate and inaccurate information; translation of cognitive science research to educational settings; multimedia learning; visualizations as learning tools.


David N. Rapp, the Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence, is a professor in both the School of Education and Social Policy and the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University. He serves as director of undergraduate education for SESP.

His research examines language and memory, focusing on the cognitive mechanisms responsible for successful learning and knowledge failures. He investigates the ways in which prior knowledge, text and visual materials, and learning goals influence the processes and products of our discourse experiences.  This has included the evaluation of technologies intended to support formal and informal learning, the design of effective presentation systems, and the iterative development of tools intended to support literacy. 

Recent published articles examine how memory is influenced by (a) the plausibility and importance of everyday events, (b) the credibility of sources, and (c) the collaborative nature of group discussions.  His most recent book is a co-edited volume entitled Processing Inaccurate Information: Theoretical and Applied Perspectives from Cognitive Science and the Educational Sciences.

Rapp’s projects have been funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Institute on Aging.  For his work, he has received a McKnight Land-Grant Professor award from the University of Minnesota in 2006, the Tom Trabasso Young Investigator Award from the Society for Text & Discourse in 2010, and is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.  He has served as associate editor at the Journal of Educational Psychology and is currently Editor at the journal Discourse Processes


  • PhD, Experimental Psychology, State University of New York, Stony Brook, 2000
  • MA, General Psychology, New York University, 1996
  • BA, Psychology, State University of New York, Albany, 1994

Selected Awards and Honors

  • 2022 – American Psychological Association Fellow of Division 15
  • 2021 – Undergraduate Research Assistant Program Award (URAP), Northwestern
  • 2019 – Outstanding Professor Award, School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University
  • 2019 – Gratitude Honor for Service, Residential College Services, Northwestern University
  • 2018 – Fellow, Society for Text and Discourse
  • 2017 – Undergraduate Research Assistant Program (URAP) Award
  • 2016 – Undergraduate Research Assistant Program (URAP) Award
  • 2015 – Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA) Fellow
  • 2015 – Undergraduate Research Assistant Program (URAP) Award
  • 2010 – Tom Trabasso Young Investigator Award, Society for Text and Discourse

Selected Publications

Rich, P., Donovan, A.M, & Rapp, D.N.  (in press).  Cause typicality and the continued influence effect.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.

Salovich, N.A., Imundo, M.N., & Rapp, D.N.  (in press).  Story stimuli for instantiating true and false beliefs about the world.  Behavior Research Instruments.

Salovich, N.A., Kirsch, A.M., & Rapp, D.N.  (in press).  Evaluative mindsets can protect against the influence of false information.  Cognition.

Imundo, M.A., & Rapp, D.N.  (2022).  When fairness is flawed: Effects of false balance reporting and weight-of-evidence statements on beliefs and perceptions of climate change.  Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 11, 258-271.

Spikes, M.A., & Rapp, D.N.  (2022).  Examining instructional practices in news media literacy: Shifts in instruction and co-construction.  Information and Learning Sciences, 123, 26-44.

Lea, R.B., Elfenbein, A., & Rapp, D.N.  (2021).  Rhyme as resonance in poetry comprehension: An expert-novice study.  Memory & Cognition, 49, 1285-1299.

Andrews-Todd, J.J., Salovich, N.A., & Rapp, D.N.  (2021).  Differential effects of pressure on social contagion of memory.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 27, 258-275.

Mensink, M.C., Kendeou, P., & Rapp, D.N.  (2021).  Do different kinds of introductions influence comprehension and memory for scientific explanations? Discourse Processes, 58, 491-512.

Salovich, N. A, Donovan, A. M., Hinze, S. R., & Rapp, D. N. (2021).  Can confidence help account for and redress the effects of reading inaccurate information?  Memory & Cognition, 49, 293-310.

Salovich, N.A., & Rapp, D.N.  (2021).  Misinformed and unaware: Metacognition and the influence of inaccurate information.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 47, 608-624.