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ERIC Number: EJ945128
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
What Matters in Scientific Explanations: Effects of Elaboration and Content
Rottman, Benjamin M.; Keil, Frank C.
Cognition, v121 n3 p324-337 Dec 2011
Given the breadth and depth of available information, determining which components of an explanation are most important is a crucial process for simplifying learning. Three experiments tested whether people believe that components of an explanation with more elaboration are more important. In Experiment 1, participants read separate and unstructured components that comprised explanations of real-world scientific phenomena, rated the components on their importance for understanding the explanations, and drew graphs depicting which components elaborated on which other components. Participants gave higher importance scores for components that they judged to be elaborated upon by other components. Experiment 2 demonstrated that experimentally increasing the amount of elaboration of a component increased the perceived importance of the elaborated component. Furthermore, Experiment 3 demonstrated that elaboration increases the importance of the elaborated information by providing insight into understanding the elaborated information; information that was too technical to provide insight into the elaborated component did not increase the importance of the elaborated component. While learning an explanation, people piece together the structure of elaboration relationships between components and use the insight provided by elaboration to identify important components. (Contains 2 tables, 2 figures and 3 supplementary data.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A