ERIC Number: ED236512
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-May
Reference Count: 0
Explanation via Concrete Knowledge.
Abelson, Robert P.
When people are asked to explain hypothetical events they tend to prefer explanations with multiple reasons (conjunctive explanations) over simple explanations. To examine this tendency, undergraduate students participated in two experiments. In the first study, students read 10 stories depicting a main character making a decision on an important course of action. The students rated the probability of seven typical and atypical explanations for the character's decision. In study two, subject's rated possible explanations for a main character completing or not completing an unimportant activity. Analyses of results demonstrated massive conjunction effects for explanations. These effects occurred for both major and minor decisions, for double and triple conjunctions, and for goals conjoined with preconditions. However, failure of action seemed to inhibit conjunction effects; giving multiple reasons for failure to complete an action (e.g., not going to a particular restaurant) may seem unnecessary. (WAS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association (55th, Chicago, IL, May 5-7, 1983).