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The equilibrium theory describes the way people try to maintain a balance between the environmental information on the one hand and their prior knowledge on the other hand. If information is new and not in line with existing knowledge this incongruity causes a cognitive conflict. When information cannot be promptly decoded and integrated into existing knowledge, people have to adapt to this new environment (cf. also the taxonomy of responses in anomalous data provided by Chinn and Brewer 1993, 1998). Piaget points out that such cognitive conflicts can lead to new knowledge.
|research_design=Case study, Conceptual