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    Surprise: Disconfirmed expectations or representation-fit?

    Maguire, Rebecca and Keane, Mark (2006) Surprise: Disconfirmed expectations or representation-fit? Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 28. pp. 1765-1770. ISSN 1069-7977

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    Surprise for a particular event is often thought to correspond to the degree to which that event deviates from an expected schema. However, in this paper we present two novel experiments that challenge this view. Participants were asked to rate how surprised they would be if an event, or series of events, followed on from a number of short scenarios. In one condition these events confirmed an expected outcome, while in another they contradicted this outcome. A third condition included a potential enabling factor along with the unexpected outcome. The results show that, even when events deviate significantly from an established schema, surprise is lower if people have a means of integrating that event into their representation. This finding is consistent with our theory of Representation-Fit, which asserts that a person’s level of surprise for a given event can be determined by how well that event is supported by the prior discourse.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Surprise; expectation; representation; discourse;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Psychology
    Item ID: 12638
    Depositing User: Rebecca Maguire
    Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2020 13:09
    Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
    Publisher: Cognitive Science Society
    Refereed: Yes
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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