David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Thinking and Reasoning 8 (1):41 – 67 (2002)
Semifactual thinking about what might have been the same, e.g., ''even if Philip had not chosen the chocolate ice-cream sundae, he would have developed an allergic reaction'' has been neglected compared to counterfactual thinking about what might have been different, e.g., ''if only Philip had not chosen the chocolate ice-cream sundae, he would not have developed an allergic reaction''. We report the first systematic comparison of the two sorts of thinking in two experiments. The first experiment showed that counterfactual ''if only'' thoughts about an antecedent event lead people to judge the event to be more causally related to the outcome, whereas semifactual ''even if'' thoughts lead people to judge the antecedent event to be less causally related to the outcome. In addition, the experiment showed that generating counterfactual ''if only'' thoughts increases emotional reactions such as regret, whereas generating semifactual ''even if'' thoughts decreases such reactions. The second experiment, along with a replication experiment, showed that when people complete ''if only'' and ''even if'' sentence stems, they focus on different alternative antecedents to the outcome: ''if only'' thoughts focus on alternatives that would undo the outcome whereas ''even if'' thoughts focus on alternatives that would not undo it, from among a set of available alternative antecedents in which either all, some, or none would undo the outcome. The implications of the results for theories of thinking about what might have been are discussed.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
John Best (2005). Recognition of Proofs in Conditional Reasoning. Thinking and Reasoning 11 (4):326 – 348.
E. Pronin, Daniel M. Wegner, K. McCarthy & S. Rodriguez (2006). Everyday Magical Powers: The Role of Apparent Mental Causation in the Overestimation of Personal Influence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 91:218-231.
Daniel Wegner, Everyday Magical Powers: The Role of Apparent Mental Causation in the Overestimation of Personal Influence.
Karl Halvor Teigen (1998). When the Unreal is More Likely Than the Real: Post Hoc Probability Judgements and Counterfactual Closeness. Thinking and Reasoning 4 (2):147 – 177.
Anton Kühberger, Christa Großbichler & Angelika Wimmer (2011). Counterfactual Closeness and Predicted Affect. Thinking and Reasoning 17 (2):137 - 155.
Stefania Pighin, Ruth M. J. Byrne, Donatella Ferrante, Michel Gonzalez & Vittorio Girotto (2011). Counterfactual Thoughts About Experienced, Observed, and Narrated Events. Thinking and Reasoning 17 (2):197 - 211.
Clare R. Walsh & Ruth M. J. Byrne (2007). How People Think “If Only …” About Reasons for Actions. Thinking and Reasoning 13 (4):461 – 483.
David R. Mandel (2003). Effect of Counterfactual and Factual Thinking on Causal Judgements. Thinking and Reasoning 9 (3):245 – 265.
Alice McEleney & Ruth M. J. Byrne (2006). Spontaneous Counterfactual Thoughts and Causal Explanations. Thinking and Reasoning 12 (2):235 – 255.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads6 ( #217,854 of 1,140,117 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #147,976 of 1,140,117 )
How can I increase my downloads?