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ERIC Number: EJ778669
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003-May
Pages: 48
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Direct Causation in the Linguistic Coding and Individuation of Causal Events
Wolff, Phillip
Cognition, v88 n1 p1-48 May 2003
This research proposes a new theory of direct causation and examines how this concept plays a key role in the linguistic coding and individuation of causal events. According to the "no-intervening-cause hypothesis," a causal chain can be described by a single-clause sentence and construed as a single event if there are no intervening causers between the initial causer and the final causee. Consistent with this hypothesis, participants used single-clause sentences (lexical causatives) more often than two-clause sentences (e.g. periphrastic causatives) for causal chains in which (1) the causer and causee touched (Experiments 1 and 2), and (2) an intervening entity could be construed as an enabling condition rather than another cause (Experiments 2-4). In addition, event judgments paralleled linguistic descriptions: chains that could be described with single-clause expressions were more often construed as single events than chains that could not (Experiments 1-3). Implications for languages other than English, for the linguistic coding of accidental outcomes and for the relationship between cognition and language in general are discussed.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A