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We explored the role that epistemic emotions play in conceptual change, specifically whether task value served as an antecedent to these emotions and whether type of text (refutation or expository) moderated relations between task value, epistemic emotions, and learning strategies. One hundred twenty university undergraduates completed a measure of misconceptions about genetically modified foods and were randomly assigned to study an expository or refutation text. After studying, participants reported their levels of surprise, curiosity, and confusion during learning, the extent to which they used self-reported critical thinking and elaboration strategies, and again completed the misconceptions measure. Individuals studying the refutation text experienced more surprise and changed more misconceptions to correct conceptions compared to participants studying the expository text. Moderated mediation analyses revealed that text type moderated the mediated relations between task value and surprise, curiosity, self-reported critical thinking and elaboration. Task value was positively related to surprise in the refutation condition but negatively related to surprise in the expository condition. Additionally, curiosity positively predicted self-reported critical thinking and elaboration strategies in the refutation condition but not in the expository condition. Results demonstrate that epistemic emotions play a significant role in conceptual change.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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