Effects of cultural and ontological violations on concept memorability
Keywords:concept memory, cultural versus ontological expectations
Many religious ideas have attributes that violate our expectations about the state of the natural world. It has been argued that minimal counter-intuitiveness (MCI), defined as a mild violation of innate (ontological) expectations, makes such ideas memorable and prone to cultural transmission. Empirical studies have examined memory for concepts that violate innate ontological expectations; however memorability of ideas that defy cultural or learned expectations have been (with few exceptions) overlooked. In our study, we compared memory for ideas that violate intuitive ontologies, learned expectations, and everyday, intuitive ideas. We discuss the mnemonic advantage of minimally counterintuitive ideas in terms of a combination of associative strength and bizarreness.
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