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The role of sociocognitive conflict in scientific knowledge exchange

Working groupKnowledge Exchange Lab
Duration01/2015 - 12/2017
FundingLeibniz-WissenschaftsCampus Tübingen
Project description

The goal of this PhD project was to examine the role of sociocognitive conflict in determining what scientists discuss and work on, and thus learning more generally. This goal was pursued particularly by examining the scientific publications themselves and discussion about those papers in online forums and discussion groups.

More theoretically, the project examined Kuhn, Platt, and Popper’s suggestions that (cognitive) conflict is good for science (e.g., anomolies and paradigm shifts, strong inference, falsification). Cognitive conflict was broadly construed and operationalized by looking, metrics, for instance, of the sentiment or how often words like ‘not’, ‘but’, ‘incorrect’, ‘wrong’, or ‘didn’t’ are used in comments or the discussion. Initial results from a sample at a well-known journal suggested that more comments on a paper are related to more negativity in those comments, and greater citation rates overall.
While the idea that cognitive conflict is good for learning was not new (e.g., Piaget, Vygotsky), these studies were among the first to test these ideas in science; and could serve as the beginning of a larger program of research aimed at making online (scientific) discussion more efficient.


Buttliere, B. (2014). Using Science and Psychology to improve the dissemination and evaluation of scientific work. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 8. doi:10.3389/fncom.2014.00082.


PD Dr. Jürgen Buder PD Dr. Jürgen Buder
Tel.: +49 7071 979-326