This research examined whether youth's forecasted risk taking is best predicted by a compensatory (namely, subjective expected utility) or non-compensatory (e.g., single-factor) model. Ninety youth assessed the importance of perceived benefits, importance of perceived drawbacks, subjective probability of benefits, and subjective probability of drawbacks for 16 risky behaviors clustered evenly into recreational and health/safety domains. In both domains, there was strong support for a noncompensatory model in which only the perceived importance of the benefits of engaging in a risky behavior (...) predicted youths' forecasted engagement in risky behavior. The study overcomes earlier methodological weaknesses by fully decomposing participants' assessments into importance and probability aspects for both benefits and drawbacks. As such, the findings provide clear evidence in support of a boundedrationality perspective on youth decision making regarding risk taking. (shrink)
Theories of blame posit that observers consider causality, controllability, and foreseeability when assigning blame to actors. The present study examined which of these factors, either on their own or in interaction, predicted blame assigned to actors in a case of harm caused by negligence. The findings revealed that only causal impact ratings predicted blame. The findings also revealed a novel form of asymmetric discounting: the causal impact of a negligent actor was used to discount blame assigned to an innocent actor, (...) but the causal impact of the innocent actor was not used to discount the blame assigned to the negligent actor. (shrink)
Historically, cognitivists considered moral choices to be determined by analytic processes. Recent theories, however, have emphasized the role of intuitive processes in determining moral choices. We propose that the engagement of analytic and intuitive processes is contingent on the type of tradeoff being considered. Specifically, when a tradeoff necessarily violates a moral principle no matter what choice is made, as in tragic tradeoffs, its resolution should result in greater moral conflict and less confidence in choice than when the tradeoff offers (...) a moral escape route, as in taboo tradeoffs. We manipulated tradeoff type in between subjects design and confirmed the prediction that tragic tradeoffs prompt more conflict and less confidence than taboo tradeoffs. The findings further revealed that moral conflict mediated the effect of tradeoff type on confidence. The study sheds light on the manner in which human minds resolve moral problems involving social agents. (shrink)
Consistent with Barbey & Sloman (B&S), it is proposed that performance on Bayesian inference tasks is well explained by nested sets theory (NST). However, contrary to those authors' view, it is proposed that NST does better by dispelling with dual-systems assumptions. This article examines why, and sketches out a series of NST's core principles, which were not previously defined.
It is human nature to wonder how things might have turned out differently--either for the better or for the worse. For the past two decades psychologists have been intrigued by this phenomenon, which they call counterfactual thinking. Specifically, researchers have sought to answer the "big" questions: Why do people have such a strong propensity to generate counterfactuals, and what functions does counterfactual thinking serve? What are the determinants of counterfactual thinking, and what are its adaptive and psychological consequences? This important (...) work brings together a collection of thought-provoking papers by social and cognitive psychologists who have made important theoretical and empirical contributions to our understanding of this topic. The essays in this volume contain novel theoretical insights, and, in many cases descriptions of previously unpublished empirical studies. The Psychology of Counterfactual Thinking provides an excellent overview of this fascinating topic for researchers, as well as advanced undergraduates and graduates in psychology--particularly those with an interest in social cognition, social judgment, decision judgment, decision making, thinking and reasoning. (shrink)
The significance of counterfactual thinking in the causal judgement process has been emphasized for nearly two decades, yet no previous research has directly compared the relative effect of thinking counterfactually versus factually on causal judgement. Three experiments examined this comparison by manipulating the task frame used to focus participants' thinking about a target event. Prior to making judgements about causality, preventability, blame, and control, participants were directed to think about a target actor either in counterfactual terms (what the actor could (...) have done to change the outcome) or in factual terms (what the actor had done that led to the outcome). In each experiment, the effect of counterfactual thinking did not differ reliably from the effect of factual thinking on causal judgement. Implications for research on causal judgement and mental representation are discussed. (shrink)
The rationality debate centers on the meaning of deviations of decision makers' responses from the predictions/prescriptions of normative models. But for the debate to have significance, the meaning and functions of normative analysis must be clear. Presently, they are not, and the debate's persistence owes much to conceptual blur. An attempt is made here to clarify the concept of normative analysis.