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Zachary C. Irving
University of Virginia
  1. Mental Control and Attributions of Blame for Negligent Wrongdoing.Samuel Murray, Kristina Krasich, Zachary C. Irving, Thomas Nadelhoffer & Felipe De Brigard - forthcoming - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
    Judgments of blame for others are typically sensitive to what an agent knows and desires. However, when people act negligently, they do not know what they are doing and do not desire the outcomes of their negligence. How, then, do people attribute blame for negligent wrongdoing? We propose that people attribute blame for negligent wrongdoing based on perceived mental control, or the degree to which an agent guides their thoughts and attention over time. To acquire information about others’ mental control, (...)
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    The Catch-22 of Forgetfulness: Responsibility for Mental Mistakes.Zachary C. Irving, Samuel Murray, Aaron Glasser & Kristina Krasich - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    Attribution theorists assume that character information informs judgments of blame. But there is disagreement over why. One camp holds that character information is a fundamental determinant of blame. Another camp holds that character information merely provides evidence about the mental states and processes that determine responsibility. We argue for a two-channel view, where character simultaneously has fundamental and evidential effects on blame. In two large factorial studies (n = 495), participants rate whether someone is blameworthy when he makes a mistake (...)
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  3. Mind-Wandering: A Philosophical Guide.Zachary C. Irving & Aaron Glasser - forthcoming - Philosophical Compass.
    Philosophers have long been fascinated by the stream of consciousness––thoughts, images, and bits of inner speech that dance across the inner stage. Yet for centuries, such “mind-wandering” was deemed private and thus resistant to empirical investigation. Recent developments in psychology and neuroscience have reinvigorated scientific interest in the stream of thought, leading some researchers to dub this “the era of the wandering mind”. Despite this flurry of progress, scientists have stressed that mind-wandering research requires firmer philosophical foundations. The time is (...)
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  4. The Scientific Study of Passive Thinking: Methods of Mind Wandering Research.Samuel Murray, Zachary C. Irving & Kristina Krasich - forthcoming - In Felipe De Brigard & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (eds.), Neuroscience and Philosophy. pp. 389-426.
    The science of mind wandering has rapidly expanded over the past 20 years. During this boom, mind wandering researchers have relied on self-report methods, where participants rate whether their minds were wandering. This is not an historical quirk. Rather, we argue that self-report is indispensable for researchers who study passive phenomena like mind wandering. We consider purportedly “objective” methods that measure mind wandering with eye tracking and machine learning. These measures are validated in terms of how well they predict self-reports, (...)
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  5. Drifting and Directed Minds: The Significance of Mind-Wandering for Mental Action.Zachary C. Irving - manuscript
    Perhaps the central question in action theory is this: what ingredient of bodily action is missing in mere behaviour? But what is an analogous question for mental action? I ask the following: what ingredient of active, goal-directed, thought is missing in mind-wandering? I answer that guidance is the missing ingredient that separates mind-wandering and directed thinking. I define mind-wandering as unguided attention. Roughly speaking, attention is guided when you would feel pulled back, were you distracted. In contrast, a wandering attention (...)
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  6. What Does “Mind‐Wandering” Mean to the Folk? An Empirical Investigation.Zachary C. Irving, Aaron Glasser, Alison Gopnik & Chandra Sekhar Sripada - 2020
    Although mind-wandering research is rapidly progressing, stark disagreements are emerging about what the term “mind-wandering” means. Four prominent views define mind-wandering as 1) task-unrelated thought, 2) stimulus-independent thought, 3) unintentional thought, or 4) dynamically unguided thought. Although theorists claim to capture the ordinary understanding of mind-wandering, no systematic studies have assessed these claims. Two large factorial studies present participants (n=545) with vignettes that describe someone’s thoughts and ask whether her mind was wandering, while systematically manipulating features relevant to the four (...)
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