Error-driven knowledge restructuring in categorization

Michael L. Kalish, Stephan Lewandowsky, Melissa Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


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 (US)
Pages (from-to)846-861
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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