Rationalization as representational exchange: Scope and mechanism

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 43 (2020)
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Abstract

The commentaries suggest many important improvements to the target article. They clearly distinguish two varieties of rationalization – the traditional “motivated reasoning” model, and the proposed representational exchange model – and show that they have distinct functions and consequences. They describe how representational exchange occurs not only by post hoc rationalization but also by ex ante rationalization and other more dynamic processes. They argue that the social benefits of representational exchange are at least as important as its direct personal benefits. Finally, they construe our search for meaning, purpose, and narrative – both individually and collectively – as a variety of representational exchange. The result is a theory of rationalization as representational exchange both wider in scope and better defined in mechanism.

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