Home > Research > Project 6

Socio-cognitive Conflict, Epistemic Emotions, and Learning



  • Reinhard Pekrun (Ludwig-Maximilians U., Theme 2)
  • Jeffrey Wiseman (McGill U., Theme 1)


  • Dr. Frank Fischer (Ludwig-Maximilians U.)
  • Dr. Matthias Siebeck (Ludwig-Maximilians U.)
  • Dr. Karsten Stegmann (Ludwig-Maximilians U.)

Research Assistants:

  • Elisabeth Meier (Ludwig-Maximilians U.)


In a sequence of experimental studies, we want to examine the role of epistemic emotions in students’ learning in technology-enhanced learning environments. More specifically, we aim to identify and create learning materials and types of interactions that are suited to promote complex learning by creating cognitive incongruity and triggering epistemic emotions that can promote learning. The basic hypothesis of the project is that cognitive conflict can promote adaptive emotions and learning if designed in learner-supportive ways.

The learning materials and interactions will pertain to controversial topics in medical education such as inoculation or medical screening. Learners will deal with a computer-based learning environment in which they are supposed to communicate with agents or humans who are either experts or non-experts on the topics to be learned, and express either consistent or inconsistent views on these topics, thus inducing varying amounts of cognitive conflict. Emotions to be considered will include epistemic emotions (surprise, curiosity, enjoyment, confusion, anxiety, frustration, boredom), in addition to achievement and social emotions. Emotions will be measured using self-report (specifically, the Epistemic Emotion Scales developed by Pekrun and Meier, 2012, unpublished), physiological measures, and observation of facial expression using FaceReader. In addition, Pekrun’s lab at the University of Munich offers options to include EEG measurement if useful. Dependent variables will relate to content learning, conceptual change, and strategies to deal with conflicting perspectives on controversial medical topics.