Explaining increases belief revision in the face of (many) anomalies

Joseph Jay Williams, Caren M. Walker, Tania Lombrozo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

How does explaining novel observations influence the extent to which learners revise beliefs in the face of anomalies – observations inconsistent with their beliefs? On one hand, explaining could recruit prior beliefs and reduce belief revision if learners “explain away” or discount anomalies. On the other hand, explaining could promote belief revision by encouraging learners to modify beliefs to better accommodate anomalies. We explore these possibilities in a statistical judgment task in which participants learned to rank students’ performance across courses by observing sample rankings. We manipulated whether participants were prompted to explain the rankings or to share their thoughts about them during study, and also the proportion of observations that were anomalous with respect to intuitive statistical misconceptions. Explaining promoted greater belief revision when anomalies were common, but had no effect when rare. In contrast, increasing the number of anomalies had no effect on belief revision without prompts to explain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBuilding Bridges Across Cognitive Sciences Around the World - Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2012
EditorsNaomi Miyake, David Peebles, Richard P. Cooper
PublisherThe Cognitive Science Society
Pages1149-1154
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780976831884
StatePublished - 2012
Event34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Building Bridges Across Cognitive Sciences Around the World, CogSci 2012 - Sapporo, Japan
Duration: Aug 1 2012Aug 4 2012

Publication series

NameBuilding Bridges Across Cognitive Sciences Around the World - Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2012

Conference

Conference34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Building Bridges Across Cognitive Sciences Around the World, CogSci 2012
Country/TerritoryJapan
CitySapporo
Period8/1/128/4/12

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Keywords

  • anomalies
  • explanation
  • generalization
  • learning
  • misconceptions
  • self-explanation
  • statistics

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