Understanding the Role of Context in Memory for Maximally Counterintuitive Concepts


The effect of minimally counterintuitive information on memory is well established. However, less work has addressed the processing of maximally counterintuitive stories (i.e., stories containing at least three domain violations). The current study examined memory for maximally counterintuitive stories. The first two experiments investigated whether explicit instruction to make sense of “strange information” influenced memory for maximally counterintuitive stories. Although no such effect was observed, post hoc analyses indicated that the extent to which concepts in maximally counterintuitive stories contained domain violations from similar or different categories influenced memory performance; stories with similar domain violations enjoyed a memory advantage. The third study addressed the believability of concepts with similar domain violations with a rating task. Participants were more likely to agree with two counterintuitive concepts with similar domain violations compared to a single counterintuitive concept. The results are discussed within Upal's (2005; 2009) context-based view of memory for counterintuitive ideas.

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