The idea that some kids pick up information better when it’s presented visually, and others physically or by listening, is a myth that could rob children of opportunities to learn and a waste of parents’ money, according to scientists. 

Researchers at the University of Michigan looked at the pervasiveness of myths about so-called learning styles. The authors of the study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology questioned what is known as psychological essentialism: The idea that the category something fits into is determined by a biological “truth” with a genetic basis. For instance, girls liking pink, pitbulls being violent, or visual learners only retaining information when it is presented to them in a specific way.

Despite the theory lingering for decades, there is no evidence to suggest tailoring a person's learning experience to their self-reported learning style helps them to retain information, the authors wrote.

Their study investigated attitudes towards visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles. The researchers recruited a total of 668 U.S. adults, who were paid about $1 to fill out surveys asking them about their beliefs about learning styles. Information including the participants’ occupation, their education level, and gender were also collected. In one survey, respondents were asked to rate their agreement or disagreement with statements like “People are born with a predisposition to have a certain learning style.”

Read the full article at Newsweek.