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  1. Actual and counterfactual effort contribute to responsibility attributions in collaborative tasks.Yang Xiang, Jenna Landy, Fiery A. Cushman, Natalia Vélez & Samuel J. Gershman - 2023 - Cognition 241 (C):105609.
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  • If not me, then who? Responsibility and replacement.Sarah A. Wu & Tobias Gerstenberg - 2024 - Cognition 242 (C):105646.
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  • Recent empirical work on the relationship between causal judgements and norms.Pascale Https://Orcidorg Willemsen & Lara Kirfel - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (1):e12562.
    It has recently been argued that normative considerations play an important role in causal cognition. For instance, when an agent violates a moral rule and thereby produces a negative outcome, she will be judged to be much more of a cause of the outcome, compared to someone who performed the same action but did not violate a norm. While there is a substantial amount of evidence reporting these effects, it is still a matter of debate how this evidence is to (...)
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  • Causation, Responsibility, and Typicality.Justin Sytsma - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (4):699-719.
    There is ample evidence that violations of injunctive norms impact ordinary causal attributions. This has struck some as deeply surprising, taking the ordinary concept of causation to be purely descriptive. Our explanation of the findings—the responsibility view—rejects this: we contend that the concept is in fact partly normative, being akin to concepts like responsibility and accountability. Based on this account, we predicted a very different pattern of results for causal attributions when an agent violates a statistical norm. And this pattern (...)
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  • Time and Singular Causation—A Computational Model.Simon Stephan, Ralf Mayrhofer & Michael R. Waldmann - 2020 - Cognitive Science 44 (7):e12871.
    Causal queries about singular cases, which inquire whether specific events were causally connected, are prevalent in daily life and important in professional disciplines such as the law, medicine, or engineering. Because causal links cannot be directly observed, singular causation judgments require an assessment of whether a co‐occurrence of two events c and e was causal or simply coincidental. How can this decision be made? Building on previous work by Cheng and Novick (2005) and Stephan and Waldmann (2018), we propose a (...)
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  • Foundations of a Probabilistic Theory of Causal Strength.Jan Sprenger - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (3):371-398.
    This paper develops axiomatic foundations for a probabilistic-interventionist theory of causal strength. Transferring methods from Bayesian confirmation theory, I proceed in three steps: I develop a framework for defining and comparing measures of causal strength; I argue that no single measure can satisfy all natural constraints; I prove two representation theorems for popular measures of causal strength: Pearl's causal effect measure and Eells' difference measure. In other words, I demonstrate these two measures can be derived from a set of plausible (...)
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  • The categories of causation.John Schwenkler - 2023 - Synthese 203 (1):1-35.
    This paper is an essay in what Austin (_Proc Aristotel Soc_ 57: 1–30, 1956–1957) called "linguistic phenomenology". Its focus is on showing how the grammatical features of ordinary causal verbs, as revealed in the kinds of linguistic constructions they can figure in, can shed light on the nature of the processes that these verbs are used to describe. Specifically, drawing on the comprehensive classification of English verbs founds in Levin (_English verb classes and alternations: a preliminary investigation_, University of Chicago (...)
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  • Cause and burn.David Rose, Eric Sievers & Shaun Nichols - 2021 - Cognition 207 (104517):104517.
    Many philosophers maintain that causation is to be explicated in terms of a kind of dependence between cause and effect. These “dependence” theories are opposed by “production” accounts which hold that there is some more fundamental causal “oomph”. A wide range of experimental research on everyday causal judgments seems to indicate that ordinary people operate primarily with a dependence-based notion of causation. For example, people tend to say that absences and double preventers are causes. We argue that the impression that (...)
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  • When do we think that X caused Y?Tadeg Quillien - 2020 - Cognition 205:104410.
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  • Causal Judgment in the Wild: Evidence from the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election.Tadeg Quillien & Michael Barlev - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (2):e13101.
    Cognitive Science, Volume 46, Issue 2, February 2022.
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  • A simple definition of ‘intentionally’.Tadeg Quillien & Tamsin C. German - 2021 - Cognition 214 (C):104806.
    Cognitive scientists have been debating how the folk concept of intentional action works. We suggest a simple account: people consider that an agent did X intentionally to the extent that X was causally dependent on how much the agent wanted X to happen (or not to happen). Combined with recent models of human causal cognition, this definition provides a good account of the way people use the concept of intentional action, and offers natural explanations for puzzling phenomena such as the (...)
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  • The psychological representation of modality.Jonathan Phillips & Joshua Knobe - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (1):65-94.
    A series of recent studies have explored the impact of people's judgments regarding physical law, morality, and probability. Surprisingly, such studies indicate that these three apparently unrelated types of judgments often have precisely the same impact. We argue that these findings provide evidence for a more general hypothesis about the kind of cognition people use to think about possibilities. Specifically, we suggest that this aspect of people's cognition is best understood using an idea developed within work in the formal semantics (...)
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  • People's thinking plans adapt to the problem they're trying to solve.Joan Danielle K. Ongchoco, Joshua Knobe & Julian Jara-Ettinger - 2024 - Cognition 243 (C):105669.
    Much of our thinking focuses on deciding what to do in situations where the space of possible options is too large to evaluate exhaustively. Previous work has found that people do this by learning the general value of different behaviors, and prioritizing thinking about high-value options in new situations. Is this good-action bias always the best strategy, or can thinking about low-value options sometimes become more beneficial? Can people adapt their thinking accordingly based on the situation? And how do we (...)
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  • Confidence and gradation in causal judgment.Kevin O'Neill, Paul Henne, Paul Bello, John Pearson & Felipe De Brigard - 2022 - Cognition 223 (C):105036.
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  • How pills undermine skills: Moralization of cognitive enhancement and causal selection.Emilian Mihailov, Blanca Rodríguez López, Florian Cova & Ivar R. Hannikainen - 2021 - Consciousness and Cognition 91 (C):103120.
    Despite the promise to boost human potential and wellbeing, enhancement drugs face recurring ethical scrutiny. The present studies examined attitudes toward cognitive enhancement in order to learn more about these ethical concerns, who has them, and the circumstances in which they arise. Fairness-based concerns underlay opposition to competitive use—even though enhancement drugs were described as legal, accessible and affordable. Moral values also influenced how subsequent rewards were causally explained: Opposition to competitive use reduced the causal contribution of the enhanced winner’s (...)
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  • Immoral Professors and Malfunctioning Tools: Counterfactual Relevance Accounts Explain the Effect of Norm Violations on Causal Selection.Jonathan F. Kominsky & Jonathan Phillips - 2019 - Cognitive Science 43 (11):e12792.
    Causal judgments are widely known to be sensitive to violations of both prescriptive norms (e.g., immoral events) and statistical norms (e.g., improbable events). There is ongoing discussion as to whether both effects are best explained in a unified way through changes in the relevance of counterfactual possibilities, or whether these two effects arise from unrelated cognitive mechanisms. Recent work has shown that moral norm violations affect causal judgments of agents, but not inanimate artifacts used by those agents. These results have (...)
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  • The pervasive impact of ignorance.Lara Kirfel & Jonathan Phillips - 2023 - Cognition 231 (C):105316.
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  • Causal judgments about atypical actions are influenced by agents' epistemic states.Lara Kirfel & David Lagnado - 2021 - Cognition 212 (C):104721.
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  • Norms Affect Prospective Causal Judgments.Paul Henne, Kevin O’Neill, Paul Bello, Sangeet Khemlani & Felipe De Brigard - 2021 - Cognitive Science 45 (1):e12931.
    People more frequently select norm-violating factors, relative to norm- conforming ones, as the cause of some outcome. Until recently, this abnormal-selection effect has been studied using retrospective vignette-based paradigms. We use a novel set of video stimuli to investigate this effect for prospective causal judgments—i.e., judgments about the cause of some future outcome. Four experiments show that people more frequently select norm- violating factors, relative to norm-conforming ones, as the cause of some future outcome. We show that the abnormal-selection effects (...)
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  • Double Prevention, Causal Judgments, and Counterfactuals.Paul Henne & Kevin O'Neill - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (5):e13127.
    Cognitive Science, Volume 46, Issue 5, May 2022.
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  • Counterfactual thinking and recency effects in causal judgment.Paul Henne, Aleksandra Kulesza, Karla Perez & Augustana Houcek - 2021 - Cognition 212 (C):104708.
    People tend to judge more recent events, relative to earlier ones, as the cause of some particular outcome. For instance, people are more inclined to judge that the last basket, rather than the first, caused the team to win the basketball game. This recency effect, however, reverses in cases of overdetermination: people judge that earlier events, rather than more recent ones, caused the outcome when the event is individually sufficient but not individually necessary for the outcome. In five experiments (N (...)
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  • A counterfactual explanation for the action effect in causal judgment.Paul Henne, Laura Niemi, Ángel Pinillos, Felipe De Brigard & Joshua Knobe - 2019 - Cognition 190 (C):157-164.
    People’s causal judgments are susceptible to the action effect, whereby they judge actions to be more causal than inactions. We offer a new explanation for this effect, the counterfactual explanation: people judge actions to be more causal than inactions because they are more inclined to consider the counterfactual alternatives to actions than to consider counterfactual alternatives to inactions. Experiment 1a conceptually replicates the original action effect for causal judgments. Experiment 1b confirms a novel prediction of the new explanation, the reverse (...)
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  • Causal Responsibility and Robust Causation.Guy Grinfeld, David Lagnado, Tobias Gerstenberg, James F. Woodward & Marius Usher - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11:1069.
    How do people judge the degree of causal responsibility that an agent has for the outcomes of her actions? We show that a relatively unexplored factor -- the robustness of the causal chain linking the agent’s action and the outcome -- influences judgments of causal responsibility of the agent. In three experiments, we vary robustness by manipulating the number of background circumstances under which the action causes the effect, and find that causal responsibility judgments increase with robustness. In the first (...)
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  • Blame-validation: Beyond rationality? Effect of causal link on the relationship between evaluation and causal judgment.Valentin Goulette & Fanny Verkampt - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology.
    The Culpable Control Model assumes that causal judgments are irrational: a negative evaluative reaction to an agent would lead individuals to overestimate his causal contribution to a harm. However, the extent to which these judgments deviate from criteria of rationality remains unclear. The two present studies aimed at investigating conditions under which this effect occurs. Participants red a vignette in which the evaluative reaction was operationalized through the agent’s motives (blameworthy, laudable). We also varied the causal link between the agent’s (...)
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  • It's Difficult to Explain Away the Appearance That Causation Comes in Degrees: A Reply to Sartorio.Joshua Goh - 2023 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 40 (1):109-122.
    Does the relation of (actual) causation admit of degrees? Is it sensible to say, for example, that ‘as compared to his consuming the light beer, Clement’s consuming the moonshine was more a cause of his becoming drunk’? Suppose the answer is ‘yes’. Suppose also that country A unjustifiably ignites a lethal war with country B, and you intuit that, while most combatants of A are liable to lethal counterattack, most non-combatants of A aren’t similarly liable. Then, you might support your (...)
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  • An interaction effect of norm violations on causal judgment.Maureen Gill, Jonathan F. Kominsky, Thomas F. Icard & Joshua Knobe - 2022 - Cognition 228 (C):105183.
    Existing research has shown that norm violations influence causal judgments, and a number of different models have been developed to explain these effects. One such model, the necessity/sufficiency model, predicts an interac- tion pattern in people’s judgments. Specifically, it predicts that when people are judging the degree to which a particular factor is a cause, there should be an interaction between (a) the degree to which that factor violates a norm and (b) the degree to which another factor in the (...)
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  • Making a positive difference: Criticality in groups.Tobias Gerstenberg, David A. Lagnado & Ro’I. Zultan - 2023 - Cognition 238 (C):105499.
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  • A counterfactual simulation model of causation by omission.Tobias Gerstenberg & Simon Stephan - 2021 - Cognition 216 (C):104842.
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  • How to Trace a Causal Process.J. Dmitri Gallow - 2022 - Philosophical Perspectives 36 (1):95-117.
    According to the theory developed here, we may trace out the processes emanating from a cause in such a way that any consequence lying along one of these processes counts as an effect of the cause. This theory gives intuitive verdicts in a diverse range of problem cases from the literature. Its claims about causation will never be retracted when we include additional variables in our model. And it validates some plausible principles about causation, including Sartorio's ‘Causes as Difference Makers’ (...)
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  • Projects and Methods of Experimental Philosophy.Eugen Fischer & Justin Sytsma - 2023 - In Alexander Max Bauer & Stephan Kornmesser (eds.), The Compact Compendium of Experimental Philosophy. Berlin: De Gruyter. pp. 39-70.
    How does experimental philosophy address philosophical questions and problems? That is: What projects does experimental philosophy pursue? What is their philosophical relevance? And what empirical methods do they employ? Answers to these questions will reveal how experimental philosophy can contribute to the longstanding ambition of placing philosophy on the ‘secure path of a science’, as Kant put it. We argue that experimental philosophy has introduced a new methodological perspective – a ‘meta-philosophical naturalism’ that addresses philosophical questions about a phenomenon by (...)
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  • Norms in Counterfactual Selection.Sina Fazelpour - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (1):114-139.
    In the hopes of finding supporting evidence for various accounts of actual causation, many philosophers have recently turned to psychological findings about the influence of norms on counterfactual cognition. Surprisingly little philosophical attention has been paid, however, to the question of why considerations of normality should be relevant to counterfactual cognition to begin with. In this paper, I follow two aims. First, against the methodology of two prominent psychological accounts, I argue for a functional approach to understanding the selectivity of (...)
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  • Algorithmic Fairness and the Situated Dynamics of Justice.Sina Fazelpour, Zachary C. Lipton & David Danks - 2022 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 52 (1):44-60.
    Machine learning algorithms are increasingly used to shape high-stake allocations, sparking research efforts to orient algorithm design towards ideals of justice and fairness. In this research on algorithmic fairness, normative theorizing has primarily focused on identification of “ideally fair” target states. In this paper, we argue that this preoccupation with target states in abstraction from the situated dynamics of deployment is misguided. We propose a framework that takes dynamic trajectories as direct objects of moral appraisal, highlighting three respects in which (...)
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  • Causation comes in degrees.Huzeyfe Demirtas - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-17.
    Which country, politician, or policy is more of a cause of the Covid-19 pandemic death toll? Which of the two factories causally contributed more to the pollution of the nearby river? A wide-ranging portion of our everyday thought and talk, and attitudes rely on a graded notion of causation. However, it is sometimes highlighted that on most contemporary accounts, causation is on-off. Some philosophers further question the legitimacy of talk of degrees of causation and suggest that we avoid it. Some (...)
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  • Analytic Causal Knowledge for Constructing Useable Empirical Causal Knowledge: Two Experiments on Pre‐schoolers.Patricia W. Cheng, Catherine M. Sandhofer & Mimi Liljeholm - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (5):e13137.
    Cognitive Science, Volume 46, Issue 5, May 2022.
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  • It's not what you did, it's what you could have done.Regan M. Bernhard, Hannah LeBaron & Jonathan Phillips - 2022 - Cognition 228 (C):105222.
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  • What comes to mind?Adam Bear, Samantha Bensinger, Julian Jara-Ettinger, Joshua Knobe & Fiery Cushman - 2020 - Cognition 194 (C):104057.
    When solving problems, like making predictions or choices, people often “sample” possibilities into mind. Here, we consider whether there is structure to the kinds of thoughts people sample by default—that is, without an explicit goal. Across three experiments we found that what comes to mind by default are samples from a probability distribution that combines what people think is likely and what they think is good. Experiment 1 found that the first quantities that come to mind for everyday behaviors and (...)
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  • The Compact Compendium of Experimental Philosophy.Alexander Max Bauer & Stephan Kornmesser (eds.) - 2023 - Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter.
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  • Causation and the Silly Norm Effect.Levin Güver & Markus Kneer - 2023 - In Stefan Magen & Karolina Prochownik (eds.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Law. Bloomsbury Press. pp. 133–168.
    In many spheres, the law takes the legal concept of causation to correspond to the folk concept (the correspondence assumption). Courts, including the US Supreme Court, tend to insist on the "common understanding" and that which is "natural to say" (Burrage v. United States) when it comes to expressions relating to causation, and frequently refuse to clarify the expression to juries. As recent work in psychology and experimental philosophy has uncovered, lay attributions of causation are susceptible to a great number (...)
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  • Causation, Norms, and Cognitive Bias.Levin Güver & Markus Kneer - manuscript
    Extant research has shown that ordinary causal judgments are sensitive to normative factors. For instance, agents who violate a norm are standardly deemed more causal than norm-conforming agents in identical situations. In this paper, we explore two competing explanations for the Norm Effect: the Responsibility View and the Bias View. According to the former, the Norm Effect arises because ordinary causal judgment is intimately intertwined with moral responsibility. According to the alternative view, the Norm Effect is the result of a (...)
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  • The Modal Future: A Theory of Future-Directed Thought and Talk.Fabrizio Cariani - 2021 - Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    Provisional draft, pre-production copy of my book “The Modal Future” (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press).
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  • Causation, Foreseeability, and Norms.Levin Güver & Markus Kneer - 2023 - Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society 45:888–895.
    A growing body of literature has revealed ordinary causal judgement to be sensitive to normative factors, such that a norm-violating agent is regarded more causal than their non-norm-violating counterpart. In this paper, we explore two competing explanations for this phenomenon: the Responsibility View and the Bias View. The Bias View, but not the Responsibility View, predicts features peripheral to the agent’s responsibility to impact causal attributions. In a series of three preregistered experiments (N = 1162), we present new evidence that (...)
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  • Resource Rationality.Thomas F. Icard - manuscript
    Theories of rational decision making often abstract away from computational and other resource limitations faced by real agents. An alternative approach known as resource rationality puts such matters front and center, grounding choice and decision in the rational use of finite resources. Anticipated by earlier work in economics and in computer science, this approach has recently seen rapid development and application in the cognitive sciences. Here, the theory of rationality plays a dual role, both as a framework for normative assessment (...)
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  • Responsibility Internalism and Responsibility for AI.Huzeyfe Demirtas - 2023 - Dissertation, Syracuse University
    I argue for responsibility internalism. That is, moral responsibility (i.e., accountability, or being apt for praise or blame) depends only on factors internal to agents. Employing this view, I also argue that no one is responsible for what AI does but this isn’t morally problematic in a way that counts against developing or using AI. Responsibility is grounded in three potential conditions: the control (or freedom) condition, the epistemic (or awareness) condition, and the causal responsibility condition (or consequences). I argue (...)
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  • Counterfactual theories of causation.Peter Menzies - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The basic idea of counterfactual theories of causation is that the meaning of causal claims can be explained in terms of counterfactual conditionals of the form “If A had not occurred, C would not have occurred”. While counterfactual analyses have been given of type-causal concepts, most counterfactual analyses have focused on singular causal or token-causal claims of the form “event c caused event e”. Analyses of token-causation have become popular in the last thirty years, especially since the development in the (...)
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  • On the instrumental value of hypothetical and counterfactual thought.Thomas Icard, Fiery Cushman & Joshua Knobe - 2018 - Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.
    People often engage in “offline simulation”, considering what would happen if they performed certain actions in the future, or had performed different actions in the past. Prior research shows that these simulations are biased towards actions a person considers to be good—i.e., likely to pay off. We ask whether, and why, this bias might be adaptive. Through computational experiments we compare five agents who differ only in the way they engage in offline simulation, across a variety of different environment types. (...)
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  • Ordinary causal attributions, norms, and gradability.Jan Garcia Olier & Markus Kneer -
    There is a large literature exploring the effect of norms on the attribution of causation. Empirical research on this so-called “norm effect” has predominantly focused on two data points: A situation in which an agent violates a salient norm, and one in which there is no violation of a salient norm. Since the phenomenon is understood in bivalent terms (norm infraction vs. no norm infraction), most explanations thereof have the same structure. In this paper, we report several studies (total N=479) (...)
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  • Reversing the Norm Effect on Causal Attributions.John Schwenkler & Justin Sytsma - manuscript
    Research in the psychology of causal thinking has frequently revealed effects of normative considerations on causal attributions, where participants tend to assign causality more strongly to agents who violate a norm in bringing about an outcome. Across several experiments, we show that it is possible to reverse this norm effect when the outcome in question is good rather than bad: in these cases, participants assign causality more strongly to a norm-conforming agent than to an agent who violates a norm. We (...)
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  • The Average Isn’t Normal.Joshua Knobe & Henry Cowles - manuscript
    Within contemporary science, it is common practice to compare data points to the _average_, i.e., to the statistical mean. Because this practice is so familiar, it might at first appear not to be the sort of thing that requires explanation. But recent research in cognitive science gives us reason to adopt the opposite perspective. Research on the cognitive processes involved in people’s ordinary efforts to make sense of the world suggests that, instead of using a purely statistical notion of the (...)
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