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ERIC Number: EJ789461
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan
Pages: 28
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 37
ISSN: ISSN-0163-853X
Processing Inferential Causal Statements: Theoretical Refinements and the Role of Verb Type
Mohamed, Mohamed Taha; Clifton, Charles, Jr.
Discourse Processes: A Multidisciplinary Journal, v45 n1 p24-51 Jan 2008
An evidential causal relation like, "Because most distinguished students got bad grades, the teacher made some mistakes in evaluating his students' papers," is more difficult to process than a factual one like, "Because he got tired after a long semester, the teacher made some mistakes in evaluating his students' papers" (Noordman & de Blijzer, 2000; Traxler, Sanford, Aked, & Moxey, 1997). Two experiments explored the distinguishing characteristics of different types of causal relations. Experiment 1 introduced a third type of causal relation--a deductive causal relation--such as, "Because grading a paper is a subjective process, the teacher made some mistakes in evaluating his students' papers." Deductive causal relations are intermediate in difficulty between factual and evidential causal relations but behave in important ways like evidential relations. Experiment 2 found that using psychological verbs (e.g., "like") to express evidential relations makes causal statements that express these relations more acceptable than their counterparts expressed using action verbs (e.g., "destroy"). The article concludes with a discussion of the main characteristics of different types of causal statements. It is argued that understanding the speaker's theory of mind is the basis for comprehending evidential and deductive causal relations. Finally, this article proposes a tentative framework for analyzing the comprehension of causal relations. (Contains 6 tables and 2 figures.)
Lawrence Erlbaum. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A