Revising deference: Intuitive beliefs about category structure constrain expert deference
Publication date: August 2017 Source:Journal of Memory and Language, Volume 95 Author(s): Alexander Noyes, Frank C. Keil Concepts are grounded in intuitive theories, yet intuitive theories are often sparse and incomplete. Deferring to experts can potentially fill those gaps. Sometimes experts convey new information, such as discovering a new planet (Experiment 1 and 3). Other times they revise past conclusions, such as concluding that Pluto is actually not a planet (Experiment 2 and 3). For non-experts to maintain scientific accuracy, they need to assimilate the expert judgments in either case. However, we find that people are less likely to defer after revision than novel discovery. In each case, their essentialist intuitions explain the pattern of results. The more participants construe categories in essentialist terms, the more they reject category revision; the opposite occurs for novel discoveries. Moreover, people only reject revision when it conflicts with essentialist intuitions (Experiment 4). Thus, the same intuitive theories that encourage deference also constrain it.
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