Cognitive conflict and intuitive rules

Dina Tirosh, Ruth Stavy, Shmuel Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper is a part of an extensive project on the role of intuitive rules in science and mathematics education. First, we described the effects of two intuitive rules -- ‘Everything comes to an end’ and ‘Everything can be divided’ -- on seventh to twelfth grade students’ responses to successive division tasks related to mathematical and physical objects. Then, we studied the effect of an intervention, which provided students with two contradictory statements, one in line with students’ intuitive response, the other contradicting it, on their responses to various successive division tasks. It was found that this conflict-based intervention did not improve students’ ability to differentiate between successive division processes related to mathematical objects and those related to material ones. These results reconfirmed that intuitive rules are stable and resistant to change. Finally, this paper raised the need for additional research related to the relationship between intuitive rules and formal knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1257-1269
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 1998


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