The Cognitive-Evolutionary Model of Surprise: A Review of the Evidence.

Published on Jan 1, 2019in Topics in Cognitive Science
· DOI :10.1111/TOPS.12292
Rainer Reisenzein27
Estimated H-index: 27
(University of Greifswald),
Gernot Horstmann31
Estimated H-index: 31
Achim Schützwohl16
Estimated H-index: 16
(Brunel University London)
Research on surprise relevant to the cognitive-evolutionary model of surprise proposed by Meyer, Reisenzein, and Schutzwohl (1997) is reviewed. The majority of the assumptions of the model are found empirically supported. Surprise is evoked by unexpected (schema-discrepant) events and its intensity is determined by the degree if schema-discrepancy, whereas the novelty and the valence of the eliciting events probably do not have an independent effect. Unexpected events cause an automatic interruption of ongoing mental processes that is followed by an attentional shift and attentional binding to the events, which is often followed by causal and other event analysis processes and by schema revision. The facial expression of surprise postulated by evolutionary emotion psychologists has been found to occur rarely in surprise, for as yet unknown reasons. A physiological orienting response marked by skin conductance increase, heart rate deceleration, and pupil dilation has been observed to occur regularly in the standard version of the repetition-change paradigm of surprise induction, but the specificity of these reactions as indicators of surprise is controversial. There is indirect evidence for the assumption that the feeling of surprise consists of the direct awareness of the schema-discrepancy signal, but this feeling, or at least the self-report of surprise, is also influenced by experienced interference. In contrast, facial feedback probably does contribute substantially to the feeling of surprise and the evidence for the hypothesis that surprise is affected by the difficulty of explaining an unexpected event is, in our view, inconclusive. Regardless of how the surprise feeling is constituted, there is evidence that it has both motivational and informational effects. Finally, the prediction failure implied by unexpected events sometimes causes a negative feeling, but there is no convincing evidence that this is always the case, and we argue that even if it were so, this would not be a sufficient reason for regarding this feeling as a component, rather than as an effect of surprise.
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
29 Citations
48 Citations
227 Citations
Hypertension has been poorly controlled with the old target of less than 140/90 (mmHg). Currently, the average control rate in the United States is about 50% with the old goal of 140/90. If the new goal of 130/80 is used, the control rate would dramatically decrease. For hypertension management, the traditional stepped-care method needs to be replaced with new approaches using single-pill combination pharmacotherapy (polypill) or using hemodynamic data for drug selection and titration to target ...
2 CitationsSource
#1Luís Macedo (UC: University of Coimbra)H-Index: 10
#2Amílcar Cardoso (UC: University of Coimbra)H-Index: 16
: We review our work on a contrast-based computational model of surprise and its applications. The review is contextualized within related research from psychology, philosophy, and particularly artificial intelligence. Influenced by psychological theories of surprise, the model assumes that surprise-eliciting events initiate a series of cognitive processes that begin with the appraisal of the event as unexpected, continue with the interruption of ongoing activity and the focusing of attention on...
6 CitationsSource
#1Joe DewhurstH-Index: 6
Whilst much has been said about the implications of predictive processing for our scientific understanding of cognition, there has been comparatively little discussion of how this new paradigm fits with our everyday understanding of the mind, i.e. folk psychology. This paper aims to assess the relationship between folk psychology and predictive processing, which will first require making a distinction between two ways of understanding folk psychology: as propositional attitude psychology and as ...
6 CitationsSource
#1Gernot Horstmann (Bielefeld University)H-Index: 31
#2Ulrich Ansorge (University of Vienna)H-Index: 32
Abstract Inattentional blindness (IB) is the phenomenon where unattended objects are not noticed. IB is typically tested within a surprise presentation procedure: A novel object is presented on a critical trial for the first time without prior announcement. Previous research indicates that IB is high unless the novel object is (a) similar to the target of the present task or (b) perceptually salient. The present study seeks evidence that the expectancy congruence of the novel object is a further...
20 CitationsSource
#1Gernot Horstmann (Bielefeld University)H-Index: 31
#2Stefanie I. Becker (UQ: University of Queensland)H-Index: 24
Last. Daniel Ernst (Bielefeld University)H-Index: 3
view all 3 authors...
A number of characteristics of the visual system and of the visual stimulus are invoked to explain involuntary control of attention, including goals, novelty, and perceptual salience. The present experiment tested perceptual salience on a surprise trial, that is, on its unannounced first presentation following trials lacking any salient items, thus eliminating possible confounds by current goals. Moreover, the salient item's location was not singled out by a novel feature, thus eliminating a pos...
8 CitationsSource
#1Gernot Horstmann (Bielefeld University)H-Index: 31
#2Arvid Herwig (Bielefeld University)H-Index: 17
While the classical distinction between task-driven and stimulus-driven biasing of attention appears to be a dichotomy at first sight, there seems to be a third category that depends on the contrast or discrepancy between active representations and the upcoming stimulus, and may be termed novelty, surprise, or prediction failure. For previous demonstrations of the discrepancy-attention link, stimulus-driven components (saliency) may have played a decisive role. The present study was conducted to...
32 CitationsSource
#1Meadhbh I. Foster (UCD: University College Dublin)H-Index: 5
#2Mark T. Keane (UCD: University College Dublin)H-Index: 41
Early theories of surprise, including Darwin’s, argued that it was predominantly a basic emotion. Recently, theories have taken a more cognitive view of surprise, casting it as a process of “making sense of surprising events”. The current paper advances the view that the essence of this sense-making process is explanation; specifically, that people’s perception of surprise is a metacognitive estimate of the cognitive work involved in explaining an abnormal event. So, some surprises are more surp...
45 CitationsSource
#1Gernot Horstmann (Bielefeld University)H-Index: 31
#2Arvid Herwig (Bielefeld University)H-Index: 17
In recent years, researchers have become increasingly interested in the effects that deviations from expectations have on cognitive processing and, in particular, on the deployment of attention. Previous evidence for a surprise–attention link had been based on indirect measures of attention allocation. Here we used eyetracking to directly observe the impact of a novel color on its unannounced first presentation, which we regarded as a surprise condition. The results show that the novel color was...
28 CitationsSource
#1James Retell (UQ: University of Queensland)H-Index: 4
#2Dustin Venini (UQ: University of Queensland)H-Index: 5
Last. Stefanie I. Becker (UQ: University of Queensland)H-Index: 24
view all 3 authors...
The surprise capture hypothesis states that a stimulus will capture attention to the extent that it is preattentively available and deviates from task-expectancies. Interestingly, it has been noted by Horstmann (Psychological Science 13: 499–505. doi: 10.1111/1467-9280.00488, 2002, Human Perception and Performance 31: 1039–1060. doi: 10.1037/00961523.31.5.1039, 2005, Psychological Research, 70, 13-25, 2006) that the time course of capture by such classes of stimuli appears distinct from that of ...
7 CitationsSource
#1Niels A. Kloosterman (UvA: University of Amsterdam)H-Index: 8
#2Thomas Meindertsma (UHH: University of Hamburg)H-Index: 5
Last. Tobias H. Donner (Charité)H-Index: 34
view all 6 authors...
Changes in pupil size at constant light levels reflect the activity of neuromodulatory brainstem centers that control global brain state. These endogenously driven pupil dynamics can be synchronized with cognitive acts. For example, the pupil dilates during the spontaneous switches of perception of a constant sensory input in bistable perceptual illusions. It is unknown whether this pupil dilation only indicates the occurrence of perceptual switches, or also their content. Here, we measured pupi...
92 CitationsSource
Cited By37
#2Anastasia EfklidesH-Index: 30
Last. Panayiota MetallidouH-Index: 7
view all 0 authors...
#1Anna-Maria Velentza (UoM: University of Macedonia)
#2Nikolaos Fachantidis (UoM: University of Macedonia)H-Index: 2
Last. Ioannis Lefkos (UoM: University of Macedonia)H-Index: 1
view all 3 authors...
Abstract null null In the years to come social robots will be extensively used in the teaching field. Consequently, it is important to determine how these robots can optimally interact with students. This paper specifically looks at the performance of social robots in place of university professors, in the field of engineering, measuring three outcomes, enjoyment (questionnaire), the acquisition of knowledge (academic test after class and final exam grades) and level of surprise (facial expressi...
#1Sarah Esser (University of Cologne)H-Index: 4
#2Clarissa Lustig (University of Cologne)H-Index: 1
Last. Hilde Haider (University of Cologne)H-Index: 27
view all 3 authors...
This article aims to continue the debate on how explicit, conscious knowledge can arise in an implicit learning situation. We review hitherto existing theoretical views and evaluate their compatibility with two current, successful scientific concepts of consciousness: The Global Workspace Theory and Higher-Order Thought Theories. In this context, we introduce the Unexpected Event Hypothesis (Frensch et al., Attention and implicit learning, John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2003) in an elaborate...
#1Tony Marshall (University of Hertfordshire)H-Index: 1
#2Saskia Keville (University of Hertfordshire)H-Index: 9
Last. Joanna R. Adler (University of Hertfordshire)H-Index: 12
view all 4 authors...
Although reflective practice is valued in learning and professional development, there are a wide range of contrasting definitions making it difficult to firstly understand what reflection is and s...
#1Marret K. Noordewier (LEI: Leiden University)H-Index: 7
#2Daan Scheepers (UU: Utrecht University)H-Index: 22
Last. Muriel A. Hagenaars (UU: Utrecht University)H-Index: 21
view all 4 authors...
Abstract null null We tested whether surprise elicits similar physiological changes as those associated with orienting and freezing after threat, as surprise also involves a state of interruption and attention for effective action. Moreover, because surprise is primarily driven by the unexpectedness of an event, initial physiological responses were predicted to be similar for positive, neutral, and negative surprises. Results of repetition-change studies (4 + 1 in a supplemental materials) showe...
#1Aekyoung KimH-Index: 2
#3Juliano LaranH-Index: 19
Last. Kristina M. DuranteH-Index: 18
view all 4 authors...
Despite evidence that consumers appreciate freedom of choice, they also enjoy recommendation systems, subscription services, and marketplace encounters that seemingly occur by chance. This paper pr...
#1Maria Theobald (Leibniz Association)H-Index: 2
#2Garvin Brod (Goethe University Frankfurt)H-Index: 11
Misconceptions about scientific concepts often prevail even if learners are confronted with conflicting evidence. This study tested the facilitative role of surprise in children's revision of misconceptions regarding water displacement in a sample of German children (N = 94, aged 6-9 years, 46% female). Surprise was measured via the pupil dilation response. It was induced by letting children generate predictions before presenting them with outcomes that conflicted with their misconception. Compa...
#1Helen M. LillieH-Index: 3
Last. Jakob D. JensenH-Index: 25
view all 4 authors...
#1Garvin Brod (Goethe University Frankfurt)H-Index: 11
This article attempts to delineate the procedural and mechanistic characteristics of predicting as a learning strategy. While asking students to generate a prediction before presenting the correct answer has long been a popular learning strategy, the exact mechanisms by which it improves learning are only beginning to be unraveled. Moreover, predicting shares many features with other retrieval-based learning strategies (e.g., practice testing, pretesting, guessing), which begs the question of wh...
#1Richard C. Becker (University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center)H-Index: 101
#2Christoph Bode (University of Freiburg)H-Index: 74