David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Cognitive Science 34 (5):776-806 (2010)
Research in education and cognitive development suggests that explaining plays a key role in learning and generalization: When learners provide explanations—even to themselves—they learn more effectively and generalize more readily to novel situations. This paper proposes and tests a subsumptive constraints account of this effect. Motivated by philosophical theories of explanation, this account predicts that explaining guides learners to interpret what they are learning in terms of unifying patterns or regularities, which promotes the discovery of broad generalizations. Three experiments provide evidence for the subsumptive constraints account: prompting participants to explain while learning artificial categories promotes the induction of a broad generalization underlying category membership, relative to describing items (Exp. 1), thinking aloud (Exp. 2), or free study (Exp. 3). Although explaining facilitates discovery, Experiment 1 finds that description is more beneficial for learning item details. Experiment 2 additionally suggests that explaining anomalous observations may play a special role in belief revision. The findings provide insight into explanation’s role in discovery and generalization
|Keywords||Self‐explanation Anomalies Category learning Learning Explanation Transfer Generalization|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Michael Strevens (2008). Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation. Harvard University Press.
Gregory L. Murphy (2004). The Big Book of Concepts. The MIT Press.
W. V. Quine (1970). The Web of Belief. New York,Random House.
Philip Kitcher (1981). Explanatory Unification. Philosophy of Science 48 (4):507-531.
Michael Friedman (1974). Explanation and Scientific Understanding. Journal of Philosophy 71 (1):5-19.
Citations of this work BETA
Tania Lombrozo (2011). The Instrumental Value of Explanations. Philosophy Compass 6 (8):539-551.
Justin C. Fisher (2014). Pragmatic Experimental Philosophy. Philosophical Psychology 28 (3):412-433.
Caren M. Walker, Tania Lombrozo, Cristine H. Legare & Alison Gopnik (2014). Explaining Prompts Children to Privilege Inductively Rich Properties. Cognition 133 (2):343-357.
Tania Lombrozo (2011). The Campaign for Concepts. Dialogue 50 (1):165-177.
Similar books and articles
Lakshmi J. Gogate (2001). Don't Preverbal Infants Map Words Onto Referents? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (6):1106-1107.
M. Gareth Gaskell (1997). Type-2 Problems Are Difficult to Learn, but Generalize Well (in General). Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):73-73.
John E. Hummel (2010). Symbolic Versus Associative Learning. Cognitive Science 34 (6):958-965.
G. B. Robinson (1997). Learning and Synaptic Plasticity. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (4):628-628.
David Henderson (2005). Norms, Invariance, and Explanatory Relevance. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35 (3):324-338.
York Hagmayer, Björn Meder, Momme von Sydow & Michael R. Waldmann (2011). Category Transfer in Sequential Causal Learning: The Unbroken Mechanism Hypothesis. Cognitive Science 35 (5):842-873.
Aldo Zanga & Jean-Fran (2004). Implicit Learning in Rule Induction and Problem Solving. Thinking and Reasoning 10 (1):55 – 83.
Noretta Koertge (1982). Explaining Scientific Discovery. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:14 - 28.
Added to index2010-08-11
Total downloads20 ( #142,353 of 1,726,249 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #231,316 of 1,726,249 )
How can I increase my downloads?