Category change in the absence of cognitive conflict
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association
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The cognitive conflict hypothesis asserts that information that directly contradicts a prior conception is 1 of the prerequisites for conceptual change and other forms of nonmonotonic learning. There have been numerous attempts to support this hypothesis by adding a conflict intervention to learning scenarios with weak outcomes. Outcomes have been inconsistent and various methodological difficulties have prevented a decisive test. We present 3 experiments that demonstrate nonmonotonic category change in the absence of any contradictory or falsifying information in a category learning paradigm called recategorization. The results show that direct falsification is not necessary for nonmonotonic learning in this paradigm, and it might in fact slow the learning process. If the results scale up to more complex learning scenarios, theories of conceptual change need to include cognitive processes that predict change even in the absence of conflict or contradiction. The resubsumption theory is summarized as 1 example of such a theory.