Error-driven knowledge restructuring in categorization

Michael L. Kalish*, Stephan Lewandowsky, Melissa Davies

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Knowledge restructuring occurs when people shift to a new strategy or representation during learning. Although knowledge restructuring can frequently be experimentally encouraged, there are instances in which people resist restructuring and continue to use an expedient but imperfect initial strategy. The authors report 3 category learning experiments that reconciled those conflicting outcomes by postulating that, for restructuring to occur, learners must be dissatisfied with their knowledge and a usable alternative must be available. In line with expectation, restructuring was elicited only when an alternative strategy was pointed out and when people's initial expedient strategy entailed performance error. Neither error nor information about the alternative strategy by itself was sufficient to induce restructuring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)846-861
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005

Structured keywords

  • Memory


  • Category learning
  • Error-driven learning
  • Selective attention
  • Strategy change
  • Task difficulty


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