NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ830305
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
The Human Function Compunction: Teleological Explanation in Adults
Kelemen, Deborah; Rosset, Evelyn
Cognition, v111 n1 p138-143 Apr 2009
Research has found that children possess a broad bias in favor of teleological--or purpose-based--explanations of natural phenomena. The current two experiments explored whether adults implicitly possess a similar bias. In Study 1, undergraduates judged a series of statements as "good" (i.e., correct) or "bad" (i.e., incorrect) explanations for why different phenomena occur. Judgments occurred in one of three conditions: fast speeded, moderately speeded, or unspeeded. Participants in speeded conditions judged significantly more scientifically unwarranted teleological explanations as correct (e.g., "the sun radiates heat because warmth nurtures life"), but were not more error-prone on control items (e.g., unwarranted physical explanations such as "hills form because floodwater freezes"). Study 2 extended these findings by examining the relationship between different aspects of adults' "promiscuous teleology" and other variables such as scientific knowledge, religious beliefs, and inhibitory control. Implications of these findings for scientific literacy are discussed. (Contains 4 tables.)
Elsevier. 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32887-4800. Tel: 877-839-7126; Tel: 407-345-4020; Fax: 407-363-1354; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A