AskDefine | Define misconception

Dictionary Definition

misconception n : an incorrect conception [ant: concept]

User Contributed Dictionary



misconceive + -tion


(US) IPA: /ˌmɪskənˈsɛpʃən/


  1. a mistaken belief, a wrong idea
    There are several common misconceptions about the theory of relativity.
    You're obviously under the misconception that I care about your problems.

Extensive Definition

For examples, see common misconceptions
A misconception happens when a person believes in a concept that is objectively false.
Due to the subjective nature of being human it can be assumed that everyone has some kind of misconception. This postulates to "no-one has perfect knowledge" and "no-one has a perfect mental representation of the world." If a concept cannot be proven to be either true or false then it cannot be claimed that disbelievers have a misconception of the concept by believers no matter how much the believers want a concept to be true and vice versa.
Misrepresentation of a concept is not a misconception but may produce a misconception. In conveying a concept, a person may choose to only present a subset of information about a concept. The receiver can assume other concepts about presented concept which may be false. Some can purposely use misrepresentation to produce these misconceptions to achieve goals.

Challenging misconceptions

Many people have difficulty relinquishing misconceptions because the false concepts may be deeply ingrained in the mental map of an individual. Some people also do not like to be proven wrong and will continue clinging to a misconception in the face of evidence to the contrary. This is a known psychological phenomenon and is due to the lack of will or inability to re-evaluate information.


Misconceptions can purposely be embraced and propagated by government (at any level) as propaganda to achieve political goals.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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