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Profile: Tania Lombrozo (University of California, Berkeley)
  1.  47
    Norms Inform Mental State Ascriptions: A Rational Explanation for the Side-Effect Effect.Kevin Uttich & Tania Lombrozo - 2010 - Cognition 116 (1):87–100.
    Theory of mind, the capacity to understand and ascribe mental states, has traditionally been conceptualized as analogous to a scientific theory. However, recent work in philosophy and psychology has documented a "side-effect effect" suggesting that moral evaluations influence mental state ascriptions, and in particular whether a behavior is described as having been performed 'intentionally.' This evidence challenges the idea that theory of mind is analogous to scientific psychology in serving the function of predicting and explaining, rather than evaluating, behavior. In (...)
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  2.  81
    Causal-Explanatory Pluralism: How Intentions, Functions, and Mechanisms Influence Causal Ascriptions.Tania Lombrozo - 2010 - Cognitive Psychology 61 (4):303-332.
    Both philosophers and psychologists have argued for the existence of distinct kinds of explanations, including teleological explanations that cite functions or goals, and mechanistic explanations that cite causal mechanisms. Theories of causation, in contrast, have generally been unitary, with dominant theories focusing either on counterfactual dependence or on physical connections. This paper argues that both approaches to causation are psychologically real, with different modes of explanation promoting judgments more or less consistent with each approach. Two sets of experiments isolate the (...)
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  3.  44
    The Role of Moral Commitments in Moral Judgment.Tania Lombrozo - 2009 - Cognitive Science 33 (2):273-286.
    Traditional approaches to moral psychology assumed that moral judgments resulted from the application of explicit commitments, such as those embodied in consequentialist or deontological philosophies. In contrast, recent work suggests that moral judgments often result from unconscious or emotional processes, with explicit commitments generated post hoc. This paper explores the intermediate position that moral commitments mediate moral judgments, but not through their explicit and consistent application in the course of judgment. An experiment with 336 participants finds that individuals vary in (...)
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  4.  43
    The Structure and Function of Explanations.Tania Lombrozo - 2006 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10 (10):464-470.
    Generating and evaluating explanations is spontaneous, ubiquitous and fundamental to our sense of understanding. Recent evidence suggests that in the course of an individual’s reasoning, engaging in explanation can have profound effects on the probability assigned to causal claims, on how properties are generalized and on learning. These effects follow from two properties of the structure of explanations: explanations accommodate novel information in the context of prior beliefs, and do so in a way that fosters generalization. The study of explanation (...)
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  5.  30
    Explanation and Categorization: How “Why?” Informs “What?”.Tania Lombrozo - 2009 - Cognition 110 (2):248-253.
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  6.  12
    Explanatory Preferences Shape Learning and Inference.Tania Lombrozo - forthcoming - Trends in Cognitive Sciences.
  7.  7
    Explaining Prompts Children to Privilege Inductively Rich Properties.Caren M. Walker, Tania Lombrozo, Cristine H. Legare & Alison Gopnik - 2014 - Cognition 133 (2):343-357.
    Two studies examined the specificity of effects of explanation on learning by prompting 3- to 6-year-old children to explain a mechanical toy and comparing what they learned about the toy’s causal and non-causal properties to children who only observed the toy, both with and without accompanying verbalization. In Study 1, children were experimentally assigned to either explain or observe the mechanical toy. In Study 2, children were classified according to whether the content of their response to an undirected prompt involved (...)
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  8.  34
    The Role of Explanation in Discovery and Generalization: Evidence From Category Learning.Joseph J. Williams & Tania Lombrozo - 2010 - Cognitive Science 34 (5):776-806.
    Research in education and cognitive development suggests that explaining plays a key role in learning and generalization: When learners provide explanations—even to themselves—they learn more effectively and generalize more readily to novel situations. This paper proposes and tests a subsumptive constraints account of this effect. Motivated by philosophical theories of explanation, this account predicts that explaining guides learners to interpret what they are learning in terms of unifying patterns or regularities, which promotes the discovery of broad generalizations. Three experiments provide (...)
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  9.  91
    Depth and Deference: When and Why We Attribute Understanding.A. Wilkenfeld Daniel, Plunkett Dillon & Lombrozo Tania - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (2):373-393.
    Four experiments investigate the folk concept of “understanding,” in particular when and why it is deployed differently from the concept of knowledge. We argue for the positions that people have higher demands with respect to explanatory depth when it comes to attributing understanding, and that this is true, in part, because understanding attributions play a functional role in identifying experts who should be heeded with respect to the general field in question. These claims are supported by our findings that people (...)
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  10.  55
    The Instrumental Value of Explanations.Tania Lombrozo - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (8):539-551.
    Scientific and ‘intuitive’ or ‘folk’ theories are typically characterized as serving three critical functions: prediction, explanation, and control. While prediction and control have clear instrumental value, the value of explanation is less transparent. This paper reviews an emerging body of research from the cognitive sciences suggesting that the process of seeking, generating, and evaluating explanations in fact contributes to future prediction and control, albeit indirectly by facilitating the discovery and confirmation of instrumentally valuable theories. Theoretical and empirical considerations also suggest (...)
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  11. Concept Possession, Experimental Semantics, and Hybrid Theories of Reference.James Genone & Tania Lombrozo - 2012 - Philosophical Psychology 25 (5):1-26.
    Contemporary debates about the nature of semantic reference have tended to focus on two competing approaches: theories which emphasize the importance of descriptive information associated with a referring term, and those which emphasize causal facts about the conditions under which the use of the term originated and was passed on. Recent empirical work by Machery and colleagues suggests that both causal and descriptive information can play a role in judgments about the reference of proper names, with findings of cross-cultural variation (...)
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  12. Editorial: Psychology and Experimental Philosophy.Joshua Knobe, Tania Lombrozo & Edouard Machery - 2010 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (2):157-160.
    Recent years have seen an explosion of new work at the intersection of philosophy and experimental psychology. This work takes the concerns with moral and conceptual issues that have so long been associated with philosophy and connects them with the use of systematic and well-controlled empirical investigations that one more typically finds in psychology. Work in this new field often goes under the name "experimental philosophy".
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  13.  18
    Folk Attributions of Understanding: Is There a Role for Epistemic Luck?Daniel A. Wilkenfeld, Dillon Plunkett & Tania Lombrozo - forthcoming - Episteme:1-26.
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  14.  3
    Bayesian Occam's Razor Is a Razor of the People.Thomas Blanchard, Tania Lombrozo & Shaun Nichols - forthcoming - Cognitive Science.
    Occam's razor—the idea that all else being equal, we should pick the simpler hypothesis—plays a prominent role in ordinary and scientific inference. But why are simpler hypotheses better? One attractive hypothesis known as Bayesian Occam's razor is that more complex hypotheses tend to be more flexible—they can accommodate a wider range of possible data—and that flexibility is automatically penalized by Bayesian inference. In two experiments, we provide evidence that people's intuitive probabilistic and explanatory judgments follow the prescriptions of BOR. In (...)
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  15.  2
    Children Adapt Their Questions to Achieve Efficient Search.Azzurra Ruggeri & Tania Lombrozo - 2015 - Cognition 143:203-216.
    One way to learn about the world is by asking questions. We investigate how younger children (7- to 8-year-olds), older children (9- to 11-year-olds), and young adults (17- to 18-year-olds) ask questions to identify the cause of an event. We find a developmental shift in children’s reliance on hypothesis-scanning questions (which test hypotheses directly) versus constraint-seeking questions (which reduce the space of hypotheses), but also that all age groups ask more constraint-seeking questions when hypothesis-scanning questions are least likely to pay (...)
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  16.  5
    Stability, Breadth and Guidance.Thomas Blanchard, Nadya Vasilyeva & Tania Lombrozo - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-21.
    Much recent work on explanation in the interventionist tradition emphasizes the explanatory value of stable causal generalizations—i.e., causal generalizations that remain true in a wide range of background circumstances. We argue that two separate explanatory virtues are lumped together under the heading of `stability’. We call these two virtues breadth and guidance respectively. In our view, these two virtues are importantly distinct, but this fact is neglected or at least under-appreciated in the literature on stability. We argue that an adequate (...)
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  17.  7
    Putting Normativity in its Proper Place.Tania Lombrozo & Kevin Uttich - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):344 - 345.
    Knobe considers two explanations for the influence of moral considerations on cognitive systems: the position, and the position. We suggest that this dichotomy conflates questions at computational and algorithmic levels, and suggest that distinguishing the issues at these levels reveals a third, viable option, which we call the position.
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  18.  2
    The Explanatory Effect of a Label: Explanations with Named Categories Are More Satisfying.Carly Giffin, Daniel Wilkenfeld & Tania Lombrozo - 2017 - Cognition 168:357-369.
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  19.  78
    Editorial: Dimensions of Experimental Philosophy.Joshua Knobe, Tania Lombrozo & Edouard Machery - 2010 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (3):315-318.
    Editorial: Dimensions of Experimental Philosophy Content Type Journal Article Pages 315-318 DOI 10.1007/s13164-010-0037-9 Authors Joshua Knobe, Program in Cognitive Science and Department of Philosophy, Yale University, New Haven, CT USA Tania Lombrozo, Department of Psychology, UC Berkeley, 3210 Tolman Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA Edouard Machery, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, 1017 CL, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA Journal Review of Philosophy and Psychology Online ISSN 1878-5166 Print ISSN 1878-5158 Journal Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume (...)
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  20.  10
    Effects of Manipulation on Attributions of Causation, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility.Dylan Murray & Tania Lombrozo - 2017 - Cognitive Science 41 (2):447-481.
    If someone brings about an outcome without intending to, is she causally and morally responsible for it? What if she acts intentionally, but as the result of manipulation by another agent? Previous research has shown that an agent's mental states can affect attributions of causal and moral responsibility to that agent, but little is known about what effect one agent's mental states can have on attributions to another agent. In Experiment 1, we replicate findings that manipulation lowers attributions of responsibility (...)
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  21.  15
    Explanation Constrains Learning, and Prior Knowledge Constrains Explanation.Joseph Jay Williams & Tania Lombrozo - 2010 - In S. Ohlsson & R. Catrambone (eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Cognitive Science Society.
  22.  1
    The Explanatory Effect of a Label: Explanations with Named Categories Are More Satisfying.Carly Giffin, Daniel Wilkenfeld & Tania Lombrozo - 2017 - Cognition 168:357-369.
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  23.  3
    An Actor's Knowledge and Intent Are More Important in Evaluating Moral Transgressions Than Conventional Transgressions.Carly Giffin & Tania Lombrozo - forthcoming - Cognitive Science.
    An actor's mental states—whether she acted knowingly and with bad intentions—typically play an important role in evaluating the extent to which an action is wrong and in determining appropriate levels of punishment. In four experiments, we find that this role for knowledge and intent is significantly weaker when evaluating transgressions of conventional rules as opposed to moral rules. We also find that this attenuated role for knowledge and intent is partly due to the fact that conventional rules are judged to (...)
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  24. Exploring Metaethical Commitments: Moral Objectivity and Moral Progress.Kevin Uttich, George Tsai & Tania Lombrozo - 2014 - In Hagop Sarkissian Jennifer Cole Wright (ed.), Advances in Experimental Moral Psychology. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 188-208.
     
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  25.  12
    Why Does Explaining Help Learning? Insight From an Explanation Impairment Effect.Joseph Jay Williams, Tania Lombrozo & Bob Rehder - 2010 - In S. Ohlsson & R. Catrambone (eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Cognitive Science Society.
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  26.  5
    Inference to the Best Explanation Versus Explaining for the Best Inference.Tania Lombrozo & Daniel Wilkenfeld - 2015 - Science and Education 24 (9 - 10):1059-1077.
    In pedagogical contexts and in everyday life, we often come to believe something because it would best explain the data. What is it about the explanatory endeavor that makes it essential to everyday learning and to scientific progress? There are at least two plausible answers. On one view, there is something special about having true explanations. This view is highly intuitive: it’s clear why true explanations might improve one’s epistemic position. However, there is another possibility—it could be that the process (...)
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  27.  10
    The Campaign for Concepts.Tania Lombrozo - 2011 - Dialogue 50 (1):165-177.
    In his book Doing Without Concepts, Edouard Machery argues that cognitive scientists should reject the concept of “concept” as a natural, psychological kind. I review and critique several of Machery’s arguments, focusing on his definition of “concept” and on claims against the possibility and utility of a unified account of concepts. In particular, I suggest ways in which prototype, exemplar, and theory-theory approaches to concepts might be integrated.
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  28.  3
    Explanation and Inference: Mechanistic and Functional Explanations Guide Property Generalization.Tania Lombrozo & Nicholas Z. Gwynne - 2014 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8.
  29.  3
    The Hazards of Explanation: Overgeneralization in the Face of Exceptions.Joseph Jay Williams, Tania Lombrozo & Bob Rehder - 2013 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 142 (4):1006-1014.
  30.  5
    From Conceptual Representations to Explanatory Relations.Tania Lombrozo - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):218-219.
    Machery emphasizes the centrality of explanation for theory-based approaches to concepts. I endorse Machery's emphasis on explanation and consider recent advances in psychology that point to the of explanation, with consequences for Machery's heterogeneity hypothesis about concepts.
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  31.  35
    Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy.Tania Lombrozo, Shaun Nichols & Joshua Knobe (eds.) - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    The new interdisciplinary field of experimental philosophy has emerged as the methods of psychological science have been brought to bear on traditional philosophical issues. Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy will be the place to go to see outstanding new work in the field, by both philosophers and psychologists.
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  32. Lyn Frazier, Maria Nella Carminati, Anne E. Cook, Helen Majewski and Keith Rayner (University of Massachusetts) Semantic Evaluation of Syntactic Structure: Evidence From Eye Movements, B53–B62 Andrea Weber (Saarland University), Martine Grice (University of Cologne) and Matthew W. Crocker (Saarland University). [REVIEW]Tania Lombrozo, Susan Carey, Joana Cholin, Willem Jm Levelt, Niels O. Schiller, Rebecca J. Woods & Teresa Wilcox - 2006 - Cognition 99:385-387.
  33. Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy: Volume 1.Tania Lombrozo, Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.) - 2014 - Oxford University Press UK.
    The new field of experimental philosophy has emerged as the methods of psychological science have been brought to bear on traditional philosophical issues. Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy will be the place to go to see outstanding new work in the field. It will feature papers by philosophers, papers by psychologists, and papers co-authored by people in both disciplines. The series heralds the emergence of a truly interdisciplinary field in which people from different disciplines are working together to address a (...)
     
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