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Title:Toward a mechanistic understanding of the tendency to infer ought from is: the role of biases in explanation
Author(s):Tworek, Christina
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:People tend to judge what is typical to be also good and appropriate—what one ought to do. What accounts for the prevalence of these judgments, given that their validity is at best uncertain (Hume, 1740/2000)? We hypothesized that the tendency to reason from is to ought is due in part to a systematic bias in people’s (nonmoral) explanations, whereby regularities (e.g., giving roses for Valentine’s Day) are explained predominantly via inherent or intrinsic facts (e.g., roses are beautiful). In turn, these inherence-biased explanations license downstream, value-laden conclusions (e.g., it’s good to give roses). Consistent with this proposal, 4 studies (N = 517 children and adults) suggested that the inherence bias in explanation fosters, from an early age, inferences that imbue observed reality with value. Given that explanations fundamentally determine how people understand the world, the inherence bias in these judgments is likely to exert substantial influence over sociomoral understanding.
Issue Date:2015-12-04
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Christina Tworek
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-03-02
Date Deposited:2015-12

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