Article

Counterfactuals as Behavioral Primes: Priming the Simulation Heuristic and Consideration of Alternatives

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Abstract

We demonstrate that counterfactuals prime a mental simulation mind-set in which relevant but potentially converse alternatives are considered and that this mind-set activation has behavioral consequences. This mind-set is closely related to the simulation heuristic (Kahne-man & Tversky, 1982). Participants primed with a counterfactual were more likely to solve the Duncker candle problem (Experiment 1), suggesting that they noticed an alternative function for one of the objects, an awareness that is critical to solving the problem. Participants primed with a counterfactual were more likely to simultaneously affirm the consequent and select the potentially falsifying card, but without selecting the irrelevant card, in the Wason card selection task, suggesting that they were testing both the stated conditional and its reverse (Experiment 2). The increased affirmations of the consequent decreased correct solutions on the task—thus, the primed mind-set can bias or debias thought and action. Finally, Experiment 3 provides further evidence that counterfactual primes increase the accessibility of relevant alternatives. Counterfactual primes attenuated the confirmation bias in a trait hypothesis testing context by increasing the selection of questions designed to elicit hypothesis-disconfirming answers, but without increasing the selection of neutral questions. The nature of priming effects and the role of counterfactual thinking in biasing and debiasing thought and action are discussed.

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... Besides affecting behavior related to the content of a specific thought, counterfactuals can also have broader consequences independent of the thought content. One way by which these content-neutral effects were previously demonstrated is the induction of a so-called counterfactual mindset (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000). Such a mindset affects performance and behavior in unrelated situations in diverse ways. ...
... The standard induction of a counterfactual mindset involves participants imagining a situation in which they almost win a prize at a lottery (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000). This is typically followed by a measure of performance in a problem-solving or creativity task (e.g., Kray et al., 2006). ...
... The biggest difference between our studies and the existing body of research is the sample size used. Much of the existing research used samples ranging from N = 7 to N = 15 per condition (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Kray et al., 2006). Our studies adhered more to the current standards using much larger samples. ...
Article
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Motivational states are important determinants of human behavior. Regulatory focus theory suggests that a promotion focus stimulates risky behavior, whereas a prevention focus fosters conservative tactics. Previous research linked counterfactual structure with regulatory focus. Extending this work, we predicted that additive counterfactual mindsets (“If only I had…”) instigate risky tactics in subsequent situations, whereas subtractive counterfactual mindsets (“If only I had NOT…”) lead to conservative tactics. We tested this prediction and the underlying assumptions in four preregistered studies (total N = 803) and obtained consistent null results. Additive and subtractive counterfactual mindsets did not elicit different tactics – neither on behavioral nor on self-report measures – and they did not influence participants’ motivation compared to a neutral control condition. Likewise, our results put doubts on previous findings on counterfactuals and regulatory focus as well as regulatory focus and conservative or risky behavior. More general implications for research on counterfactuals and motivation are discussed.
... A growing body of research supports this view. It shows that bringing people into a state of cognitive flexibility (i.e., activating a flexibility mindset) via the mental simulation of conflicting alternatives reduces their reliance on dominant outgroup-related judgments (Kleiman et al., 2014;Sassenberg & Moskowitz, 2005;Stern & Kleiman, 2015;Vasiljevic & Crisp, 2013;SUBTRACTIVE COUNTERFACTUALS AND TRUST IN IMMIGRANTS 7 Winter et al., 2021), as well as biased judgment and decision-making in general (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Kleiman & Hassin, 2013;Landkammer & Sassenberg, 2016;Savary et al., 2015). For instance, Winter et al. (2021) found that reading messages with negations ("asylum seekers are not criminal")-which inherently entail a mental simulation of conflicting alternatives (Dudschig & Kaup, 2018)-increased outgroup trust among those who were initially the most distrusting. ...
... Accordingly, the mental procedure applied during counterfactual thinking is a simulation of two conflicting alternatives (i.e., reality and a counterfactual alternative); applied to the example above, failing the exam in reality and simulating alternatives how one could have passed it. Several studies show that if a counterfactual mindset is activated via priming procedures in one situation, it has a debiasing effect in unrelated, subsequent situations (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Kray & Galinsky, 2003). This effect could, thus, also apply to the debiasing of outgroup judgments. ...
... In line with this idea, Markman et al. (2007) discovered that the mindset manipulations used in the studies that showed a debiasing effect of counterfactuals (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Kray & Galinsky, 2003) primarily elicited subtractive counterfactual thoughts. Thus, especially subtractive counterfactual thinking should be suitable to reduce people's reliance on their dominant responses (i.e., debias strong or extreme attitudes). ...
Article
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Public discourse on immigration has seemed to polarize over recent years—with some people strongly trusting, but others strongly distrusting immigrants. We examined whether a cognitive strategy could mitigate these biased outgroup judgments. Given that subtractive counterfactual thoughts (“If only I had not done X. . .”) facilitate cognitive flexibility and especially a relational processing style, we hypothesized that these thoughts (vs. additive counterfactuals “If only I had done X. . .” and no counterfactuals) would weaken the relationship between people’s political orientation and the perceived trustworthiness of immigrants. In five experiments (two preregistered; total N = 1,189), we found that inducing subtractive (but not additive) counterfactuals—either via rhetorical questions in a political speech or via mindset priming—had the predicted debiasing effect. Taken together, subtle means such as using subtractive counterfactual questions in political communication seem to be a promising way to reduce biased outgroup judgments in heated public debates.
... An alternate, but not incompatible view is that considering counterfactuals may make the learner more open to alternative possibilities. In a series of experiments with adults, Galinsky and Moskowitz (2000) found that priming individuals with counterfactuals debiased reasoning on a range of tasks. Most relevant to the current proposal, however, was the finding that adults who had read a counterfactual-inducing scenario (e.g., about an individual who narrowly missed winning a large prize) were subsequently more likely to engage in disconfirmatory hypothesis-testing on an unrelated task than were those who read a control scenario. ...
... Those who had read the counterfactual-inducing scenario were more likely to select hypothesisdisconfirming items that tested an alternate hypothesis (e.g., that the individual was an introvert), whereas those in the control condition selected more hypothesis-confirming items. The authors argued that thinking counterfactually makes individuals more open-minded to alternative possibilities, causing them to adopt a "simulation mind-set" (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000). ...
... We have provided evidence that thinking counterfactually positively contributes to scientific inquiry. Its engagement leads to controlled, disconfirmatory hypothesis-testing (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Nyhout, Henke, & Ganea, 2019;Nyhout, Iannuzziello, et al., 2019), and more ideal evidence evaluation (Engle & Walker, 2021;McCormack et al., 2013). Counterfactual thought experiments may also enhance learning and transfer of science concepts (Nyhout & Ganea, 2021b). ...
Chapter
In this chapter, we bridge research on scientific and counterfactual reasoning. We review findings that children struggle with many aspects of scientific experimentation in the absence of formal instruction, but show sophistication in the ability to reason about counterfactual possibilities. We connect these two sets of findings by reviewing relevant theories on the relation between causal, scientific, and counterfactual reasoning before describing a growing body of work that indicates that prompting children to consider counterfactual alternatives can scaffold both the scientific inquiry process (hypothesis-testing and evidence evaluation) and science concept learning. This work suggests that counterfactual thought experiments are a promising pedagogical tool. We end by discussing several open questions for future research.
... testing hypotheses about numeric abstract rules) was replaced with more ecologically valid tasks resembling everyday-life problems (e.g. testing hypotheses about people), and general support was found for the previous findings on the systematic use of confirming, rather than falsifying, strategies (Dudekov a et al., 2017;Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Snyder & Swann, 1978;Strachanov a & Valu s, 2019). ...
... The second part consisted of four tasks (related to the four topics) measuring confirmation bias in information search. The task identifying confirmation bias in searches was based on methods typically used in previous research (Frost et al., 2015;Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Kray & Galinsky, 2003; Strachanov a & Valu s, 2019). First, we presented participants with this situation: "Imagine that your friend asks you to help them with a decision. ...
... This was true for all four selected topics, so our results constitute strong evidence of people adopting a confirmation strategy when looking for new information. The results also extend previous findings (Frost et al., 2015;Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000; Strachanov a & Valu s, 2019) by including measurement of participants' attitudes and their effect. On the other hand, some researchers argue that an alternative explanation is possible and that confirmation bias is often confounded with desirability (Tappin et al., 2017), or influenced by plausibility rather than confirmation bias. ...
Article
Confirmation bias is often used as an umbrella term for many related phenomena. Information searches, evidence interpretation, and memory recall are the three main components of the thinking process involved in hypothesis testing most relevant to investigations of confirmation bias; yet these have rarely been explored using a unified paradigm. Therefore, this paper examines how confirmation bias works in each of these three stages of reasoning, using four controversial topics. Participants (N = 199) first indicated their attitudes and then answered tasks measuring confirmation bias. The results showed that confirmation bias was most prevalent in information search as participants tended to search for information confirming their prior attitudes. During information interpretation, confirmation bias occurred only for more polarizing topics. On the other hand, our results did not show confirmation bias in memory recall, as there was no difference in recall of information confirming or disconfirming prior attitudes for any of the topics. Although our attitudes affect the way we process information, it seems the effect varies depending on the reasoning stage, and this can have implications for debiasing strategies.
... In line with Kahneman and Tversky's (1982) simulation heuristic, researchers have proposed that consideration of multiple alternatives leads individuals to adopt a "mental simulation mindset" (Fischoff, 1982;Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Hirt & Markman, 1995;Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Hirt et al., 2004). This proposal was based on the observation that adults who generate a single explanation, especially when explaining social phenomena, show a number of biases in subsequent prediction and interpretation of related evidence (e.g., Ross et al., 1977;Anderson et al., 1980). ...
... In line with Kahneman and Tversky's (1982) simulation heuristic, researchers have proposed that consideration of multiple alternatives leads individuals to adopt a "mental simulation mindset" (Fischoff, 1982;Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Hirt & Markman, 1995;Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Hirt et al., 2004). This proposal was based on the observation that adults who generate a single explanation, especially when explaining social phenomena, show a number of biases in subsequent prediction and interpretation of related evidence (e.g., Ross et al., 1977;Anderson et al., 1980). ...
... Several studies indicate that when children have a strong belief in a hypothesis (Penner & Klahr, 1996) or are motivated to produce a specific outcome (Zimmerman & Glaser, 2001), they tend to engage in biased hypothesis-testing, seeking to confirm, rather than disconfirm their initial hypothesis (Kuhn & Phelps, 1982). If their commitment to a particular hypothesis leads them to engage in hypothesis-confirmation, then asking children to generate alternate explanations could reduce this tendency (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000). There is at least one piece of suggestive evidence indicating that hypothesis-testing may be facilitated by exposure to contrastive beliefs in childhood as well. ...
... Therefore, we focus on several aspects related to the social dimension that are deemed to be important in the light of enhancing innovative work behaviors in firms. In particular, after conducting a thorough literature study and interviews with highly innovative professionals and entrepreneurs [10], we decided to move the work in this field forward by adopting a perspective-taking framework [11][12][13]. Perspective-taking is one of the drivers of sustainable business behaviors and organizational sustainability [14,15]. To understand how innovative work behaviors can be enhanced, predictor variables that all refer to the ability to relate to others (for instance, one's supervisor), in particular, the ability to perceive someone else's thoughts, feelings, and motivations (e.g., perspective-taking), and to engage with one another in the day-to-day practice, were hypothesized. ...
... To the best of our knowledge, so far, these variables have never been related to each other in a mediation model (with employability being the mediator) predicting innovative work behaviors. As such, this study increases the empirical knowledge that builds upon perspective-taking theory [12,13]. ...
... Perceived organizational politics negatively moderate the relationship between employability and innovative work behaviors. As explained in the introduction section, next to testing our hypothesized research model (see Figure 1) using a quantitative approach, our study further aims to achieve a better understanding of SME employees' and supervisors' experiences of the antecedents and outcomes of employability building upon perspective-taking theory [12,13] as an underlying framework. For this reason, three research questions (RQ) have been formulated that guided the qualitative analyses in this contribution: RQ 1. ...
Article
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In this mixed methods study, a moderated mediation model predicting effects of leader-member exchange (LMX) and organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB) on innovative work behaviors, with employability as a mediator, has been tested. Multi-source data from 487 pairs of employees and supervisors working in 151 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) supported our hypothesized model. The results of structural equation modelling provide support for our model. In particular, the benefits of close relationships and high-quality exchanges between employee and supervisor (LMX), and fostering individual development as a result of employees’ OCB have an indirect effect on innovative work behaviors through positive effects on workers’ employability. Innovative work behaviors depend on employees’ knowledge, skills, and expertise. In other words, enhancing workers’ employability nurtures innovative work behaviors. In addition, we found a moderation effect of organizational politics on the relationship between employability and innovative work behaviors. Secondly, qualitative methods focusing on experiences of the antecedents and outcomes of employability were used to complement our quantitative results. All in all, this study has important consequences for managerial strategies and practices in SMEs and call for an awareness of the dysfunctional effect of perceived organizational politics.
... They solved two tasks on cognitive biases: one before (control group) and one after (experimental group) the experimental manipulation. Before the second task, they read a counterfactual scenario (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000) as the experimental manipulation. The counterfactual scenario was about Jane, who could have won a trip to Hawaii, had she not changed her seat. ...
... In recent decades, a large part of research in the psychology of decision-making (Kray & Galinsky, 2003;Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Kahn, Luce, & Nowlis, 2006;Kray, Galinsky, & Wong, 2006;Markman, Lindberg, Kray, & Galinsky, 2007;Morewedge, Yoon, Scopelliti, Symborski, Korris, & Kassam, 2015;Strachanová & Valuš, 2019) has been focused on the reduction of cognitive biases -"Debiasing". Larrick (2004) defined interventions based on motivational practices (incentives, accountability), cognitive methods (counterfactual priming, considering the opposite, training) or modern technologies (pros and cons list, group decisionmaking). ...
... As part of our underlying studies, Kray and Galinsky (2003) found that triggering the counterfactual mindset improves group decision-making in the context of issues where consideration of the various alternatives is crucial. Galinsky and Moskowitz (2000) used the method of counterfactual priming in the framework of three individual problems for decision-making and problem solving. They found that priming helped reduce the confirmation bias and improved success in solving a puzzle, for the success of which creative thinking was the key. ...
... During the process of mental simulation people think of various relevant but potentially converse alternatives (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000). In the naturalistic decision-making paradigm, mental simulation is a conscious, deliberate, and analytic strategy used to evaluate different courses of action (Klein, 2008). ...
... It can be trained or primed. In a single-shot intervention, mental simulation can be induced with a counterfactual priming (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000). The method is based on a scenario, which encourages people to produce counterfactuals -i.e. ...
... I would have been better off."). Taken together, counterfactual scenarios are supposed to activate a mental simulation mindset in which various alternatives are considered (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000). As a result, mental simulation might affect cognitive performance in situations when taking into account different views and explanations is crucial. ...
Article
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Prompting mental simulation with a counterfactual scenario has been found to enhance rationality in individuals and groups. Building upon previous findings and the dual-process accounts of reasoning, we hypothesized that debiasing power of mental simulation lies in inhibiting System 1 and facilitating System 2 responses. Therefore, we examined whether counterfactual priming mitigates biased reasoning via changes in cognitive reflection. Each participant of our between-subject experiment (N = 462) solved two out of three tasks on biased reasoning: one before and one after being exposed to the counterfactual scenario. The tasks were designed to elicit selectively seeking hypothesis-confirming evidence, ignoring alternative explanations, and unwillingness to reconsider the default option. In addition, the participants completed two sets of cognitive reflection problems at the beginning and at the end of the experiment. Mental simulation reduced people’s tendencies to ignore alternative explanations and hypothesis-disconfirming evidence, and the latter effect was mediated by intuition inhibition.
... The effects of confirmation bias extend beyond the information to which one attends, driving the information that one actively seeks out. Several previous findings suggest that individuals will actively seek out information that confirms their beliefs or that confirms their hypotheses (Snyder & Swann, 1978;Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Kray & Galinsky, 2003). One particular study by Lord, Ross, and Lepper (1979) showed that individuals who either supported or opposed capital punishment judged articles confirming their stances as significantly more convincing than those arguments that opposed their personal view. ...
... Among the first researchers to explore the ability of counterfactual priming to fight confirmation bias were Galinsky and Moskowitz (2000). These researchers believed that, by priming counterfactual thoughts, an individual would focus more on alternative explanations in scenarios in which seeking confirmatory information is the typical response. ...
... These researchers believed that, by priming counterfactual thoughts, an individual would focus more on alternative explanations in scenarios in which seeking confirmatory information is the typical response. For instance, Galinsky and Moskowitz (2000) primed participants with one of two stories that involved attending a concert in which a particular seat location was chosen to win a trip to Hawaii -either the protagonist switched seats and lost the trip to Hawaii as a result (upward), or won the trip as a result of switching seats (downward). Participants were then told that a confederate in the study was extroverted, and the participants could ask questions to determine whether the confederate truly displayed this trait. ...
Thesis
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Fake news overwhelmed social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. This new, digital brand of fake news that can be spread much more rapidly than older forms, is coupled with a lack of academic research into its effects, the reasons that certain individuals trust its veracity, and methods of decreasing overall belief in fake news. Confirmation bias is one of several reasons why individuals fall victim to fake news; although there are a few strategies that can be used to combat the negative effects of confirmation bias; counterfactual reasoning is one that has demonstrated success. In the current study, participants were assigned to either a counterfactual priming scenario or a non-counterfactual scenario, before assessing the accuracy of a series of images that all contained verified fake news. Results showed little evidence that the counterfactual prime lowered accuracy judgments about politically congruent images for both left- and right-leaning individuals, but it seemed to be effective with respect to judgments about politically incongruent images. Individual political leaning was the biggest predictor of overall belief in fake news for politically congruent images. The findings overall provide an understanding about how decisions are made about the veracity of politically congruent or politically incongruent fake news.
... By considering and generating alternative situations, considering the opposite or using a pre-mortem analysis for one's own decisions and its consequences and potential outcomes, decision makers can actively reduce verification biases like overconfidence, confirmation bias, anchoring, hindsight, and control illusion (Adame, 2016;Arkes, 1991;Babcock et al., 1997;Epley & Gilovich, 2005;Hirt et al., 2004;Kaufmann et al., 2010;Koriat et al., 1980;Kray & Galinsky, 2003;Lord et al., 1984;Mussweiler et al., 2000;Slovic & Fischhoff, 1977;Soll et al., 2015;Veinott et al., 2010). This technique further helps to enhance likelihood assessments and judgmental biases (Heiman, 1990;Kaufmann et al., 2010;Koonce, 1992), mitigate the influence of opportunity cost neglect (Frederick et al., 2009), and functional fixedness (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000a). It is also seen to support the generation of alternatives and options (Keeney, 2012;Montibeller & Winterfeldt, 2015) and reduces the effect of framing, an attitude-decision gap, and recall biases (Payne et al., 1999). ...
... This leads to two major insights: a) when which debiasing technique may make sense in a decision process, and b) potential gaps in research and communication of research results versus practice. (Koriat et al., 1980) • Hindsight, logical problem solving, social judgement, availability, salience (Lord et al., 1984) • Anchoring (Mussweiler et al., 2000) • Hindsight (Slovic & Fischhoff, 1977;Soll et al., 2015) • Narrow option generation (Keeney, 2012) • Opportunity cost neglect (Frederick et al., 2009) • Likelihood assessments (Heiman, 1990;Koonce, 1992) • Confirmation bias (Kray & Galinsky, 2003) • Functional fixedness (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000a) • Framing, problematic valuation effects, attitudedecision gap, memory/recall biases (Payne et al., 1999) • Narrow option generation (Montibeller & Winterfeldt, 2015) • Confirmation bias, availability, self-serving biases (Babcock et al., 1997) • Overconfidence, planning illusion, illusion of control (Veinott et al., 2010) • Judgmental biases, control illusion, hindsight, anxiety based biases, planning fallacy (Kaufmann et al., 2010) • Association-based biases (Arkes, 1991) • (Schwenk & Cosier, 1993;Schwenk & Valacich, 1994) • Confirmation bias, narrow option generation (Schweiger et al., 1989) • Availability, confirmation bias, planning fallacy, information neglect (Herbert & Estes, 1977) • Judgmental biases, planning biases (Cosier, 1978) Accountability, secondorder judgement ...
Conference Paper
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The impact of cognitive biases on (managerial) decisions has been recognized over the last decades with a recent surge due to the COVID-19 based policy making. This article analyzes existing debiasing techniques to mitigate the influence of cognitive biases on (managerial) decisions and links the theoretical perspective with the practice. As debiasing techniques have a surprisingly little awareness among managers a card-sort experiment was applied to search for a more practice-oriented understanding and structure of debiasing techniques with the goal of developing a framework that helps practitioners to integrate debiasing techniques more easily in their decision processes. The result of the experiment shows 9 clusters of debiasing techniques (checklists, preparation, what if?, group debiasing, reason analogically, in-process debiasing, starting viewpoints, involvement, and calibration) which can be implemented in different phases of a decision process and thus may help to improve (managerial) decisions in times of uncertainty.
... Priming is specifically used in design ideation to improve quality and creativity. Participants who were primed by unscrambling sentences containing harsh words drew more hostile features, such as spikes and claws, in their sketches of hypothetical aliens [41]; participants who answered questions about nutrition habits showed improved productivity and quality of ideas on how to improve health [43]; participants who received positive affective priming-for example, being shown a picture of a laughing baby-generated higher-quality ideas in an alternative uses task [46]; participants who mimicked limited mobility, by wearing gloves, showed more empathy for elderly users, showed more originality in their concepts, and had less design fixation [10]; and participants who received counterfactual priming-that is, they considered events that happened as well as events that almost happened-performed better on the Duncker candle problem (a problem-solving test involving a candle, matches, and box of thumbtacks) by triggering more alternative-use ideas for the given supplies [47]. ...
... Beyond design ideation, idea evaluation or selection is another crucial step in engineering design in a collaborative environment, and a wide set of alternatives are usually reviewed and evaluated by a team of designers [47]. This activity can have a significant impact on the success of the design process [48]. ...
Article
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Although three pillars of sustainable design—social desirability, economic competitiveness, and environmental friendliness—are all important, they are not necessarily equally accessible or salient during the design process. This paper applies a collage priming method to activate designers’ mindsets regarding sustainability pillars prior to conceptual design exercises, and to facilitate early-stage sustainable design. The study tests if collage priming (1) improves ideation outcome in terms of the sustainability pillars, interpreted as user desirability, cost, and environmental impact, and (2) encourages designers to further explore others’ ideas during idea evaluation. For (1), collage priming related to environmental aspect is shown to assist designers with generating more relevant ideas regarding environmental impact and more feasible ideas as compared to the control. The priming is not effective in helping designers generate ideas related to user desirability or cost, potentially because designers lack readily accessible information to be activated by priming. For (2), the collage priming related to user desirability is shown to encourage further exploration when exposed to (simulated) others’ ideas. The study shows the effectiveness of collage priming in improving environmental impact in conceptual design; it also demonstrates the existing challenges of addressing user desirability and cost.
... As a cognitive process, engaging in CFT can subsequently change how consumers process information (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Galinsky & Kray, 2004). If consumers who engage in upward CFT believe they have the means and motivation to alter their future behavior, then these CFT thoughts can help them change their behavior (Smallman & Summerville, 2018). ...
... Prior research shows that engaging in CFT changes the way consumers process information (Galinsky & Kray, 2004) by directing attention to the sequence of choices and behavior, and increasing the value of feasibility information (Wang & Zhao, 2014). Upward CFT may prime positive behaviors, encouraging consumers to consider alternatives (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000) and develop implementation plans (Epstude & Roese, 2008;Smallman, 2013). We find that CFT following reflection on a dieting lapse prompted functional counterfactual thoughts (Roese, 1994) focused on how this tool could help a person take specific actions to track their eating and make healthy choices. ...
Article
Objectives: Dieting is a cognitively taxing task that does not always advance well-being. A dieting lapse may result in overconsumption that undermines long-term health goals. This research explores how a process known as counterfactual thinking (CFT), reliving an event to figure out where things went wrong, may help consumers faced with a temptation to indulge. Consumers who engage in upward CFT generate an alternative set of steps or actions that could have changed the outcome in a situation. We investigate if and how CFT may be used strategically to help consumers stick to their dieting goal and advance their own well-being. Methods: A 2 (CFT vs. control) x 2 (dieter vs. non-dieter) between-subjects factorial design was used to evaluate participant interest in a digital health tracking tool after viewing an advertisement (Study 1). Study 2 was conducted as a follow-up to measure their use of the digital tracking tool, intentions to continue to use, and calories consumed (as tracked in the system) after a two-week period using the digital tracking tool advertised in Study 1. Results: We find that engaging in upward CFT increases a dieter's intentions to track their food, a practice emerging as a strategy to help maintain goal consistency. Among dieters, perceived feasibility mediated the impact of CFT on both ad evaluations (Study 1) as well as intentions to continue to use the digital health tracking tool (Study 2). In the follow-up study we also find that dieters in the CFT condition used more of the online features offered and that all consumers in the CFT condition ate marginally fewer calories across two weeks of tracking using the digital health tool. Discussion: Encouraging consumers to generate upward counterfactual thoughts in the face of a dieting lapse increases their propensity to use an online tracking tool and reduces calories consumed. In the age of digital tracking tools, personalized prompts could be set to encourage CFT to help get a consumer back on track to pursue their healthy eating goals.
... On Day 1, participants completed an online questionnaire regarding work history, demographic information, and cognitive flexibility using the Martin and Rubin (1995) scale. 4 On Day 3, participants were randomly assigned to a treatment or a control group. Participants in the treatment group received a counterfactual scenario activity designed to manipulate cognitive flexibility (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Kray & Galinsky, 2003). Counterfactual primes work by increasing individuals' awareness of different alternatives and have been shown to increase individuals' propensity to engage in search for disconfirmatory information (Kray & Galinsky, 2003). ...
... Counterfactual primes work by increasing individuals' awareness of different alternatives and have been shown to increase individuals' propensity to engage in search for disconfirmatory information (Kray & Galinsky, 2003). These effects tend to last beyond the counterfactual event itself (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000), and make them a suitable choice for our experiment. Participants in the control group received a similar scenario, but it did not include the cognitive flexibility improvement activity. ...
Article
Research summary Though prior research highlights the organizational and cognitive challenges associated with achieving organizational ambidexterity, there has been comparatively less empirical attention focused on the cognitive characteristics that may differentiate top managers of firms that achieve ambidexterity. We build on emerging research and identify cognitive flexibility as a cognitive characteristic with particular relevance to the challenges associated with ambidexterity and suggest that it works through CEOs’ information search activities. We find that cognitively flexible CEOs are more likely to engage in effortful and persistent information search and rely to a greater extent on outside sources of information. In turn, effortful and persistent information search activities are associated with higher levels of organizational ambidexterity. Our study pushes forward the research agenda on cognitive micro‐foundations of firm capabilities. Managerial summary Ambidextrous organizations, or organizations that have the capability to pursue both incremental and discontinuous innovation, enjoy more sustainable competitive advantages. However, the achievement of organizational ambidexterity poses unique demands for top managers, including cognitive challenges. To help managers better understand these challenges, this study focuses attention on the role of the CEO in the achievement of organizational ambidexterity, and on CEO cognitive flexibility as a potential influencing factor. Our results suggest that CEO cognitive flexibility may influence organizational ambidexterity indirectly through its effect on CEO information search activities, in particular where and how intensely CEOs search for information. Our study reinforces the importance of human factors in the executive office for the development of firm dynamic capabilities, and the implementation of an innovation‐based strategy. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... On Day 1, participants completed an online questionnaire regarding work history, demographic information, and cognitive flexibility using the Martin and Rubin (1995) scale. 4 On Day 3, participants were randomly assigned to a treatment or a control group. Participants in the treatment group received a counterfactual scenario activity designed to manipulate cognitive flexibility (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Kray & Galinsky, 2003). Counterfactual primes work by increasing individuals' awareness of different alternatives and have been shown to increase individuals' propensity to engage in search for disconfirmatory information (Kray & Galinsky, 2003). ...
... Counterfactual primes work by increasing individuals' awareness of different alternatives and have been shown to increase individuals' propensity to engage in search for disconfirmatory information (Kray & Galinsky, 2003). These effects tend to last beyond the counterfactual event itself (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000), and make them a suitable choice for our experiment. Participants in the control group received a similar scenario, but it did not include the cognitive flexibility improvement activity. ...
... There is a limited amount of empirical laboratory support for the ACH-style approach. Various studies have shown that the development of alternate hypotheses (also referred to as counterfactual primes) and "consider the opposite" techniques heightened awareness and focus of relevant alternatives [59], debiased primacy and recency effects [60], increased confidence in judgments [61] and helped subjects avoid the "first instinct fallacy" (i.e. the tendency to believe that the one's first answer is always the correct or best answer) [62]. Furthermore, confidence inquiries were shown to encourage participants to increase their consideration of alternatives [63]. ...
... In the only known experimental study of ACH on a realistic intelligence problem, Folker [64] found a statistically significant improvement in the quality of analytic judgments only on the simpler of two problems. Encouraging individuals to consider multiple alternatives only helped when the generation of alternatives was done easily [59] and the number of alternatives was small [58,65]. Other research demonstrated an individual's preference for considering evidence against only a single focal hypothesis [66][67][68]. ...
Chapter
Intelligence analysis is a complex process that not only requires substantial training and deep expertise, but is heavily impacted by human cognitive factors. Studies have shown that even experienced, highly-trained personnel sometimes commit serious errors in judgment as a result of heuristic thinking and the impact of judgment bias in matters of national security can be catastrophic. Developing effective debiasing techniques requires addressing a number of daunting challenges. While intuitively appealing, the ability to construct suitable methods to test behaviour under actual work conditions is limited and the generalisability of findings from laboratory settings to work settings is a serious concern. To date, researchers have performed only limited investigations of a small number of debiasing techniques in the workplace. There is still a strong need for experimentally validated debiasing techniques that can be incorporated into analytic tradecraft so that foreseeable thinking errors can be avoided. Drawing from the useful features of prior studies, a reference framework has been developed for the experimental evaluation of bias mitigations applied to problems of an intelligence nature.
... According to the first approach, novel uses may consist in the simulation of sensorimotor experience associated with tools (Matheson and Kenett, 2020). Although the simulation used to be considered a potential heuristic to deal with problems involving high uncertainty (Kahneman and Tversky, 1982;Galinsky and Moskowitz, 2000;Ball and Christensen, 2009), Matheson and Kenett (2020) reviewed neuroimaging studies and provided neural evidence of simulations of tool-related actions during the generation of creative uses in the AUT. This data is in line with studies of episodic future thinking (Schacter et al., 2017; see also Schacter et al., 2012), which stress the role of an individual's ability to recollect past personal experiences. ...
Article
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Why does one need creativity? On a personal level, improvisation with available resources is needed for online coping with unforeseen environmental stimuli when existing knowledge and apparent action strategies do not work. On a cultural level, the exploitation of existing cultural means and norms for the deliberate production of novel and valuable artifacts is a basis for cultural and technological development and extension of human action possibilities across various domains. It is less clear, however, how creativity develops and how exactly one arrives at generating new action possibilities and producing multiple alternative action strategies using familiar objects. In this theoretical paper, we first consider existing accounts of the creative process in the Alternative Uses Task and then present an alternative interpretation, drawing on sociocultural views and an embodied cognition approach. We explore similarities between the psychological processes underlying the generation of new uses in the Alternative Uses Task and children’s pretend play. We discuss possible cognitive mechanisms and speculate how the generation of new action possibilities for common objects in pretend play can be related to adults’ ability to generate new action strategies associated with object use. Implications for creativity development in humans and embodied artificial agents are discussed.
... Counterfactual reasoning is a core concept in human cognition that corresponds to thinking about a past situation and reflecting on alternative outcomes that might also have been. Galinsky and Moskowitz (2000) show in a psychological study that counterfactual reasoning can make study participants explore alternative explanations in situations in which they typically seek confirmatory information. Future work can explore how to develop counterfactual recommendations that help users explore alternative choices and their impact on user behavior. ...
Book
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Personalized recommender systems have become indispensable in today’s online world. Most of today’s recommendation algorithms are data-driven and based on behavioral data. While such systems can produce useful recommendations, they are often uninterpretable, black-box models that do not incorporate the underlying cognitive reasons for user behavior in the algorithms’ design. This survey presents a thorough review of the state of the art of recommender systems that leverage psychological constructs and theories to model and predict user behavior and improve the recommendation process – so-called psychology-informed recommender systems. The survey identifies three categories of psychology-informed recommender systems: cognition-inspired, personality-aware, and affectaware recommender systems. For each category, the authors highlight domains in which psychological theory plays a key role. Further, they discuss selected decision-psychological phenomena that impact the interaction between a user and a recommender. They also focus on related work that investigates the evaluation of recommender systems from the user perspective and highlight user-centric evaluation frameworks, and potential research tasks for future work at the end of this survey.
... Counterfactual reasoning is a core concept in human cognition that corresponds to thinking about a past situation and reflecting on alternative outcomes that might also have been. Galinsky and Moskowitz (2000) show in a psychological study that counterfactual reasoning can make study participants explore alternative explanations in situations in which they typically seek confirmatory information. Future work can explore how to develop counterfactual recommendations that help users explore alternative choices and their impact on user behavior. ...
... In our opinion, the hypothesis of joint synthesis is a unified hypothesis being able simply and parsimoniously to explain various phenomena of cognition and behavior. For example, because joint synthesis is always performed anew and on the basis of minimal construction costs, JSH explains why decision-making is susceptible to priming (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Bargh & Ferguson, 2000) and depends on the format of the situation (Tversky & Kahneman, 1981;Shafir, 1993). Joint synthesis underlies riddles and puzzles when an individual cannot solve a simple problem, although his or her knowledge and skills are extremely sufficient to do this (Prudkov, 2000). ...
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The cause of actions is one of the most important problems in psychology. The field of psychology suggests three approaches (innate basic mechanisms, the separate construction of goals and means to accomplish them, and the dual-process models) to the problem. However, these approaches face fundamental difficulties. We suggest a new hypothesis that assumes the goal and means of an action are synthesized jointly based on the criteria of minimal construction costs. Some ideas in favor of this hypothesis and objections against it are considered. The hypothesis was examined in three experiments. In the first experiment, the criteria of minimal construction costs determines the actions of subjects. The second experiment shows the functioning of joint synthesis is independent of the intentions and wishes of participants. In the last experiment, subjects intentionally attempted to violate the mechanism of the synthesis, but they were unsuccessful. Thus, joint synthesis entirely determined actions.
... Counterfactual thinking is an inclination to imagine what might have been and consider "what if" alternatives to realities (Bonsignore et al., 2012). Counterfactual thinking encourages people to think using fantasy and imagination (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Markman et.al, 2007). Previous research has suggested that watching films (such as the Harry Potter series) with magical content encouraged children to use their imaginations and thus facilitates their counterfactual thinking (Subbotsky, Hysted, & Jones, 2010). ...
Article
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The ability to think flexibly has become increasingly important for success in work, life, and learning in the 21 st century. Flexible thinking enables students to overcome thinking fixedness and generate creative ideas and helps students to apply what they learned when faced with unknown or unfamiliar challenges. However, there has been a lack of effective and engaging teaching methods designed for teachers to facilitate students’ thinking flexibility (Middleton, 2015). This study explored an innovative method based on the activity of magic performance with the aim of facilitating flexible thinking in an interactive and engaging way. An in-depth exploration of students’ experience in this activity revealed how magic performance as a unique schema disruption stimulus influences students’ flexible thinking. The results suggested three aspects of such influence: 1) Magic primes a childlike mindset in students and encourages them to use their imaginations, 2) The curiosity toward the secret of magic drives students to develop a flexible mindset, 3) The principles of magic promote flexible thinking transfer. The results may help creativity scholars understand why magic can be used to facilitate flexible thinking. The outcome may also help teachers form a deep understanding of how magic performance can be used to facilitate students’ flexible thinking in class.
... In these situations, other types of questions may provide better pedagogical support, such as questions that engage children in the evaluation of alternatives ("What if?") or questions that prompt counterexplanations ("Why else?"). These prompts have been found to attenuate confirmation bias in adult learners, shifting their attention from salient hypotheses to other possibilities (Galinsky & Moskowitz 2000). Prompting children to reason about alternative outcomes may provide similar benefits for scientific reasoning, supporting their use of the control-of-variables strategy (Nyhout et al. 2019) and scaffolding their recognition of confounded evidence (Engle & Walker 2018). ...
Article
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Young children are adept at several types of scientific reasoning, yet older children and adults have difficulty mastering formal scientific ideas and practices. Why do “little scientists” often become scientifically illiterate adults? We address this question by examining the role of intuition in learning science, both as a body of knowledge and as a method of inquiry. Intuition supports children's understanding of everyday phenomena but conflicts with their ability to learn physical and biological concepts that defy firsthand observation, such as molecules, forces, genes, and germs. Likewise, intuition supports children's causal learning but provides little guidance on how to navigate higher-order constraints on scientific induction, such as the control of variables or the coordination of theory and data. We characterize the foundations of children's intuitive understanding of the natural world, as well as the conceptual scaffolds needed to bridge these intuitions with formal science. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Developmental Psychology, Volume 2 is December 15, 2020. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
... Researchers also proposed certain specific mindsets, for example, deliberative and implemental mindsets (Gollwitzer & Bayer, 1999;Gollwitzer, Heckhausen, & Steller, 1990;Gollwitzer & Sheeran, 2006), a counterfactual mindset (Galinsky & Kray, 2004;Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000), a comparative mindset (Xu & Wyer, 2007, a scarcity mindset (Shah, Mullainathan & Shafir, 2012) and maximizing and satisfying mindsets (Ma & Roese, 2014;Luan & Li, 2017a, 2017bLuan, Fu, & Li, 2018). ...
Article
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The current research provides novel evidence on how intuitive decision process is activated under a crisis condition and demonstrates a substantial and robust relationship among crisis mindset, inattentional blindness, and intuitive decision. We activate and measure a crisis mindset instead of directly measuring a crisis situation because a crisis can affect people only if they perceive and interpret it as a crisis. In Experiment 1, we find that a crisis mindset leads to a higher level of inattentional blindness. In Experiment 2, we provide direct evidence that inattentional blindness creates a bridge between a crisis mindset and intuitive decision. In conclusion, we fill the research gap on how crisis links to intuitive decision by demonstrating the key role of inattentional blindness in activating intuitive decision under a crisis condition.
... For instance, Gocłowska et al. (2013) reported that individuals tended to generate more creative ideas when their mind were disturbed by counter-stereotypical social examples (such as a hippy-lawyer, a woman-rugby player). Galinsky and Moskowitz (2000) also showed that individuals who encountered a counterfactual mindset attenuated their confirmatory bias and generated more creative solutions to a problem. Although these social science studies did not use magic directly in their experiments, all of the stimuli used by them aimed at eliciting a cognitive dissonance in individuals' minds, and the results suggested a positive influence of cognitive dissonance on thinking flexibility. ...
Chapter
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Magic has existed for five-thousand years. It is a performing art that creates impossible illusions, which bring magical experiences to the audience. Magicians have developed theories and principles that enable them to develop creative ideas. It is worth exploring how magic and related principles can be used to facilitate creativity. Therefore, this chapter not only reveals the theoretical foundations for such connections but also introduces the practical implications of this connection for fields such as design and science.
... Likewise, Galinsky and Moskowitz (2000) showed that priming people with counterfactuals gets people into a mental simulation mindset that makes them more likely to consider alternative solutions to reasoning problems, or avoid the confirmation bias in social hypothesis testing. But here too the way to induce the conflict is independent from the domain under judgment, unlike the present studies. ...
Article
A series of studies explored people's metacognition about moral judgments. These studies begin by demonstrating a metacognitive asymmetry: When faced with a dilemma, consequentialist responders tend to feel more conflict than deontological responders, such that they feel more compelled to give the alternative response. As a consequence, they are aware that other people might make different judgments from them. Deontological responders, on the other hand, are less likely to consider giving the alternative response, and are therefore more likely to project their moral judgments onto others. Results from experimental manipulations, mediational analyses, and process dissociation suggest that these differences in social inference originate in the conflict that people feel when trying to form moral judgments. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
... V našej štúdii sme sa rozhodli pre kontrafaktové podnecovanie uvažovania "čo by bolo keby", ktoré by malo aktivovať myšlienkový Systém 2 prostredníctvom mentálnej simulácie. Tento spôsob sa ukázal ako sľubný aj pri redukcii niektorých kognitívnych odchýlok (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000). ...
Conference Paper
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Aktívne otvorené myslenie (AOM) je spôsob uvažovania, pri ktorom berú ľudia do úvahy nielen informácie, ktoré podporujú ich názory, ale aj také, ktoré im odporujú. Štúdie tiež naznačujú, že AOM súvisí s výskytom rôznych odchýlok pri rozhodovaní. V našej experimentálnej štúdii (N = 276) sme sa zamerali na tri kognitívne odchýlky – atribučný omyl, sklon k seba-potvrdzovaniu a omyl utopených nákladov – vo vzťahu k AOM. Skúmali sme aj, či redukcia uvedených odchýlok v dôsledku intervencie založenej na mentálnej simulácii závisí od AOM. Zistili sme, že subškála AOM dogmatizmus pozitívne koreluje s podliehaním atribučnému omylu. Miera dopúšťania sa atribučného omylu zároveň klesala vplyvom intervencie o to viac, o čo vyššiu úroveň dogmatizmu účastníci vykazovali. Pri ostatných odchýlkach sa vzťahy s AOM nepreukázali.
... Second, training employees to use counterfactuals, consider-the-opposite approach, will require that they actively think about the disadvantages of their current decision choice (Galinsky and Moskowitz, 2000). For example, often we find ways to confirm our "good" ideas by searching for evidence on why we believe it is the most desirable approach. ...
Article
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Purpose This paper aims to add to the theoretical discussion of white-collar crime by introducing modern psychological decision-making literature and the potential effect on white-collar offending. Design/methodology/approach Using a theoretical approach, literature on heuristics, innovation and stress, insight into why white-collar offenders decide to commit crime is posited. Findings The heuristics and strategies that people use to assist in decision-making process may inadvertently promote white-collar crime. For example, stress may inhibit white-collar offenders’ thinking, causing them to discount the risk of committing said offense; individuals may not challenge the success of carrying out a white-collar offense once it is considered; and generally, people will be more optimistic in considering their success of not getting caught. Originality/value Currently, the study of white-collar crime is discussed largely in the context of sociological factors. Current psychological theories have considerable explanatory power in understanding why white-collar offenders commit their crimes.
... Research has been conducted that shows some success with regards to minimisation of design fixation [21] and debiasing decision makers through design [39], [40], as well as reducing confirmation bias in designers [38]. In particular, the use of counterfactuals, meaning examples that are opposite to the observed events or encourage thinking of the opposite of the present view, have been successful in combating confirmation bias [40], [41]. Our findings showed that successful teams employed counterfactual checks as part of their strategy, which resulted in fewer examples of biased behaviour. ...
Chapter
In normal operations and emergency situations, operators of nuclear control rooms rely on procedures to guide their decision-making. However, in emergency situations, these procedures may be insufficient in guiding operators.
... The consider-the-opposite exercise implemented by Wu (2013) asked participants to place themselves in a scenario where their supervisor requested them to consider alternative assessments of the case vignette. Approaches similar to this, which aim to force a decision maker to seek evidence supporting a conclusion opposite to an initial impression, have been shown to effectively decrease biases in psychological experiments (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Lord, Lepper, & Preston, 1984;Mumma & Wilson, 1995). While this study did not obtain the type of sample needed to mitigate bias (i.e., the vignette revealed no anchoring bias to be mitigated), the study design allowed for a specific test of a known bias, and this aspect could easily be applied more widely. ...
Article
Purpose This systematic review synthesized evidence supporting interventions aimed at mitigating cognitive bias associated with the decision-making of social work professionals. Methods A systematic search was conducted within 10 social services and health-care databases. Review authors independently screened studies in duplicate against prespecified inclusion criteria, and two review authors undertook data extraction and quality assessment. Results Four relevant studies were identified. Because these studies were too heterogeneous to conduct meta-analyses, results are reported narratively. Three studies focused on diagnostic decisions within mental health and one considered family reunification decisions. Two strategies were reportedly effective in mitigating error: a nomogram tool and a specially designed online training course. One study assessing a consider-the-opposite approach reported no effect on decision outcomes. Conclusions Cognitive bias can impact the accuracy of clinical reasoning. This review highlights the need for research into cognitive bias mitigation within the context of social work practice decision-making.
... For example, studies in medicine that test diagnostics suggest that listing and, critically, elaborating on the rational for choosing between alternatives, can reduce overconfidence in outcomes and enhance learning (Arkes et al., 1988;Koriat et al., 1980). Thinking about alternatives thus appears to prime the pump for judgement, decision-making and behaviour (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000), particularly when the process involves cutting through large numbers of possibilities and distilling them down into a small number of possible alternatives that reflect a range of uncertainties (cf. Schoemaker, 1995). ...
Book
This Element infuses established scenario planning routines with an exploration of cognitive reasoning, by contextualising scenario thinking within the wider human endeavour of grappling with future uncertainties. A study of ancient civilisations shows that scenario thinking is not new, but has evolved significantly since ancient times. By de-coupling scenario thinking from scenario planning, it is elevated as the essential ingredient in managerial foresight projects. The historical theme continues, focussing on the evolution of modern scenario planning, by way of the French and Anglo-American schools of thought, using the intuitive logics methodology. Archival research has discovered early contributions in the UK around the development and use of scenario thinking in public policy, which has been overlooked in many received histories. Finally, the usefulness of scenario thinking for strategic management is challenged here and the argument that it is a heuristic device for overcoming cognitive biases and making better strategic decisions is refined.
... It induces a mental simulation related to System 2 processes that are slow, conscious, deliberative, and should make us more resistant to cognitive biases (Kahneman, 2012;Kahneman & Tversky, 1982). The method has been found promising in reducing confirmation bias, attribution error, and loss aversion (Dudeková et al., 2017;Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000;Strachanová, 2017). Therefore, we decided to test whether CP influences AE, CB and SCF, and whether its effect depends on a type of the main character in the priming scenario since recent neuroscientific evidence indicates that counterfactual thoughts about ourselves activate different brain regions than thoughts about others (De Brigard et al., 2015). ...
Conference Paper
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Avoiding dumb decisions is difficult when cognitive biases lurk around every corner. Therefore, we used counterfactual priming to reduce three cognitive biases-attribution error, confirmation bias, and sunk cost fallacy (N = 276). We found out that the main character in the "if only" scenarios moderates the effect of counterfactual priming. Specifically, priming "self" was significantly effective in reducing the attribution error while priming "other" slightly decreased the confirmation bias.
... 10 (Gaglio (2004). Galinsky & Moskowitz (2000) at 384. 11 . 12 Kahneman & Miller (1986); Kahneman & Tversky (1982) 13 . ...
... Second, training employees to use counterfactuals, consider-the-opposite approach, will require that they actively think about the disadvantages of their current decision choice (Galinsky and Moskowitz, 2000). For example, often we find ways to confirm our "good" ideas by searching for evidence on why we believe it is the most desirable approach. ...
Article
Using basic probability theory, estimates of the characteristics of the average homicide victim are calculated using the notion of disjoint probability. The assumption of disjoint events (e.g., the victim's race bears no effect on the offender's weapon choice) is then tested empirically using the Uniform Crime Report‐Supplementary Homicide Report. Exploratory results suggest that many demographic and situational characteristics taken together are only slightly more related than chance. Put simply, the average profile of homicide victims portrayed by the media becomes less likely as demographic variables are added. A survey was conducted to test whether individuals conjoined these characteristics, thinking they were more likely to occur together. Consistent with the conjunction fallacy, many participants overestimated the likelihood that certain demographic or situational characteristics will occur together, and some overestimated it to a mathematically impossible degree. These two experiments showcase the difficulty in displaying statistical profiling and how it affects the public's perception of offenders.
Article
The counterfactual thinking cannot be only developed in early childhood, but it also could be a requirement for the causal reasoning. In this research a replica of German (1999) was made using counterfactual stories with Latin American kids between three and four years, demonstrating the possible main role counterfactual reasoning, by using computer animations. This was a different approach to the most recent made by Nyhout and Ganea (2020). Nonetheless, the participants of the study evidenced counterfactual reasoning to the relevant choice and the negative consequence conditions shown on the stories that represented the choices made by a starting role ( McNemar, N = 40, k = 11.53, p = .001). Although some of the results were not totally conclusive under the analyzed conditions. Lastly, some possible not controlled effects are discussed from stories shown to the children, that could have motivated the counterfactual thinking.
Article
We investigated whether prompting children to think counterfactually when learning a complex science concept (planetary habitability) would promote their learning and transfer. In Study 1, children (N = 102 6- and 7-year-olds) were either prompted to think counterfactually about Earth (e.g., whether it is closer to or farther from the sun) or prompted to think about examples of different planets (Venus and Neptune) during an illustrated tutorial. A control group did not receive the tutorial. Children in the counterfactual and examples groups showed better comprehension and transfer of the concept than those in the control group. Moreover, children who were prompted to think counterfactually showed some evidence of better transfer to a novel planetary system than those who were prompted to think about different examples. In Study 2, we investigated the nature of the counterfactual benefit observed in Study 1. Children (N = 70 6- and 7-year-olds) received a tutorial featuring a novel (imaginary) planet and were either prompted to think counterfactually about the planet or prompted to think about examples of additional novel planets. Performance was equivalent across conditions and was better than performance in the control condition on all measures. The results suggest that prompts to think about alternative possibilities-both in the form of counterfactuals and in the form of alternative possible worlds-are a promising pedagogical tool for promoting abstract learning of complex science concepts.
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The essence of an integrated marketing communications program is designed messages that effectively reach the target audience. A creative strategy directs all communications. The creative strategy guides and directs the development of current and future sales messages, brochures, and advertising. A written creative strategy becomes a potential management tool for directing the activities of advertising agencies. It clearly articulates how the product or service will be presented to customers and positioned versus competitors. The relationship between creativity and advertising is long, rich and textured. Creativity is considered to be an important determinant of advertising effectiveness. However, there is a robust relationship between creativity and dishonesty. This research provides a critical first step toward understanding how creative thinking is associated with unethical behavior, two often-discussed ingredients of our complex world. Across five studies, we demonstrated that both a creative personality and creativity primes promote individuals' motivation to think creatively, such that higher scores on dispositional creativity or exposure to creativity primes lead to an increased motivation to think outside the box. In turn, this increased motivation promotes dishonesty. Our results suggest that there is a link between creativity and rationalization. As Mazar et al. (2008) proposed, the ability of most people to behave dishonestly might be bound by their ability to cheat and at the same time feel that they are behaving as moral individuals. To the extent that creativity allows people to more easily behave dishonestly and rationalize this behavior, creativity might be a more general driver of this type of dishonesty and play a useful role in understanding unethical behavior.
Article
We investigated the preparatory benefits of counterfactual and prefactual thinking towards cognitive task performance. Experiment 1 replicated the robust finding that individuals focus more on mutating internally controllable elements when thinking prefactually about their future task performance than when thinking counterfactually about a past performance. We also replicated the finding that counterfactual thinking was associated with significant performance improvement in an anagram task. However, despite their greater focus on internally controllable thoughts, individuals who generated prefactuals showed no performance improvement. In Experiment 2, we examined the relative performance-enhancing roles of counterfactuals and prefactuals in a subsequent unrelated analytical reasoning task. Only individuals who completed a counterfactual priming task performed significantly better than those in a control group did. These results corroborate extant findings of the preparatory advantage of counterfactuals. They also raise questions regarding some ways in which the preparatory functions of counterfactual and prefactual thinking have been conceptualised.
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Spontaneous (i.e., heuristic, fast, effortless, and associative) processing has clear advantages for human cognition, but it can also elicit undesirable outcomes such as stereotyping and other biases. In the current article, we argue that biased judgements and behaviour that result from spontaneous processing can be reduced by activating various flexibility mindsets. These mindsets are characterised by the consideration of alternatives beyond one’s spontaneous thoughts and behaviours and could, thus, contribute to bias reduction. Research has demonstrated that eliciting flexibility mindsets via goal and cognitive conflicts, counterfactual thinking,, recalling own past flexible thoughts or behaviour, and adopting a promotion focus reduces biases in judgements and behaviour. We summarise evidence for the effectiveness of flexibility mindsets across a wide variety of important phenomena – including creative performance, stereotyping and prejudice, interpersonal behaviour, and decision-making. Finally, we discuss the underlying processes and potential boundary conditions.
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This paper discusses how counterfactual thinking can be incorporated intobehavioral economics by relating it to a type of attribution substitution involved in choices people make in conditions of Knightian uncertainty. It draws on Byrne’s ‘rational imagination’ account of counterfactual thinking, evidence from cognitive science regarding the forms it takes, and identifies types of attribution substitution specific to economic behavior. This approach, which elucidates the reflective stage of causal reasoning, is relevant for the explanation of hypothetical causal rules suitable for diverse tasks such as planning, expectations and mental simulations and for behavioural change interventions, which take into account people’s social and institutional embeddedness. The paper closes with a discussion of how this implies a specifically social Homo sapiens individual conception. Keywords: counterfactual thinking, attribute substitution, Knightian uncertainty, rational imagination, economic behavior, Homo sapiens JEL codes: A12, A13, B41, D90
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The use of structured risk assessment instruments (SRAIs) has increased significantly over the past decades, with research documenting variation between countries. The use of SRAIs, their perceived utility and potential for mitigating bias in forensic risk evaluations (FREs) was investigated in a survey of Dutch forensic mental health practitioners (N = 110) We found generally positive views regarding SRAI utility. Bias in FREs was of concern to respondents. We found no evidence of a bias blind spot (the belief that oneself is less prone to bias than peers/colleagues). SRAIs were rated as the most effective debiasing strategy, but respondents also endorsed introspection. There were few differences in beliefs about sources of bias or debiasing strategies between respondents who had bias training and those who had not, suggesting the need for development of effective strategies to mitigate bias and training related to bias in FREs.
Article
Often, the evidence we observe is consistent with more than one explanation. How do learners discriminate among candidate causes? The current studies examine whether counterfactuals help 5-year olds (N = 120) select between competing hypotheses and compares the effectiveness of these prompts to a related scaffold. In Experiment 1, counterfactuals support evidence evaluation, leading children to privilege and extend the cause that accounted for more data. In Experiment 2, the hypothesis that accounted for the most evidence was pitted against children's prior beliefs. Children who considered alternative outcomes privileged the hypothesis that accounted for more observations, whereas those who explained relied on prior beliefs. Findings demonstrate that counterfactuals recruit attention to disambiguating evidence and outperform explanation when data contrast with existing beliefs.
Article
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Groups of people often find it challenging to coordinate on a single choice or option. Even when coordination is achieved, it may be inefficient because better outcomes were possible. Numerous researchers attempted to address this coordination problem with various manipulations ranging in complexity and generalizability, but results were mixed. Here, we use a more parsimonious and generalizable method – counterfactuals – to nudge (i.e. indirectly guide and allow for free choice) individuals towards choosing options that are more likely to result in efficient coordination. We used a modified version of an existing coordination game, the minimum effort game (MEG), where we added actual effort (i.e. solving an arithmetic problem) and counterfactuals (i.e. statements highlighting the hypothetical outcomes had they or other players chosen differently). Based on previous literature and promising results from a pilot experiment using bidirectional counterfactuals (i.e. both upward and downward), we designed and preregistered a follow-up experiment to directly assess the effectiveness of counterfactuals. We replicated the pilot study with a bidirectional counterfactual condition, then added an upward, downward, and control (no counterfactuals) condition. We found weak evidence for counterfactual nudging and clear evidence that players can effectively nudge the group towards higher efficiency.
Article
The design brief informs particularly the first phases of the design process; however, there are very limited studies on its role and functions. The current study proposes a framework that relates problem statement types in a design brief to creative outcomes by promoting the priming effect, which is a cognitive phenomenon describing the ways individuals behave accordingly to the way they receive a stimulus. The claim is that the brief has the potential to stimulate creativity and influence the type of outcomes by priming the design students using the problem statement. An experiment was conducted in which two groups of design students generated sketches in response to two types of problem statements (in noun and verb formations) in similar design briefs. The problem statements in verb formation were found to lead to a higher number of sketches containing more novel and flexible, yet less realisable ideas. The results support the contention that the design brief and the type of problem statements have the potential to act as a catalyst for creativity early in the design process.
Article
Real Activities Manipulation (RAM) is an earnings management technique that is increasingly being used by managers. RAM is a purposeful action by managers to manipulate earnings by altering operations, finances, and investments. In this study, we investigate the effects of reporting frequency and the knowledge that financial analysts view RAM negatively on the likelihood of management engaging in RAM. Based on the results of an online experiment with 73 experienced managers and MBA students, we find that more frequent financial reporting significantly reduces managers' likelihood to engage in sales-related RAM when they are also informed that analysts view RAM negatively. As a result, the combination of more frequent reporting and the knowledge that analysts view RAM negatively, taken together, may assist indeterring managers' engagement in sales-related RAM.
Article
Bias is a ubiquitous problem in human functioning. It has plagued medical decision making, making physicians prone to errors of perception and judgment. Racial, gender, ethnic, and religious negative biases infest physicians' perception and cognition, causing errors of judgment and behavior that are damaging. In Part 1 of this series of 2 papers, the authors address the problem of harmful bias, the science of cognition, and what is known about how bias functions in human perception and information processing. They lay the groundwork for an approach to reducing negative bias through awareness, reflection, and bias mitigation, an approach in which negative biases can be transformed-by education, experience, practice, and relationships-into positive biases toward one another. The authors propose wisdom as a conceptual framework for imagining a different way of educating medical students. They discuss fundamental cognitive, affective, and reflective components of wisdom-based education. They also review the skills of awareness, using debiasing strategies, compassion, fostering positive emotion, and reflection that are inherent to a wisdom-based approach to eliminating the negative effects of bias in medical education. In Part 2, the authors answer a key question: How can medical educators do better? They describe the interpersonal, structural, and cultural elements supportive of a wisdom-based learning environment, a culture of respect and inclusion in medical education.
Preprint
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The use of structured risk assessment instruments (SRAIs) has increased significantly over the past decades, with research documenting variation between countries. The use of SRAIs, their perceived utility and potential for mitigating bias in forensic risk evaluations (FREs) was investigated in a survey of Dutch forensic mental health practitioners (N = 110) We found generally positive views regarding SRAI utility. Bias in FREs was of concern to respondents. We found no evidence of a bias blind spot (the belief that oneself is less prone to bias than peers/colleagues). SRAIs were rated as the most effective debiasing strategy, but respondents also endorsed introspection. There were few differences in beliefs about sources of bias or debiasing strategies between respondents who had bias training and those who had not, suggesting the need for development of effective strategies to mitigate bias and training related to bias in FREs.
Chapter
The findings from the eight sports cases are extrapolated from the domain of sports to the managerial context, specifically to the overlapping domains of creativity and innovation. Each of the 21 cross-case insights from Chap. 2 is linked to corresponding scholarly discussions by comparing the present empirical findings to existing research. Additionally, normative recommendations for strategic actions, derived from the case-based insights, describe how firms can help individual employees in the process of rule-breaking behavior. The key insights are visualized in the Framework of Rule-Breaking Market Behavior that contains a precis of the findings.
Article
Internal conflicts are inherent to individuals' everyday experience. In this paper, we present the idea of the “conflict mindset.” We argue that internal conflicts evoke a unique information processing strategy that builds on the simultaneous accessibility of two (or more) conflicting alternatives. Once a conflict is activated, the procedure underlying it is primed and can be applied to any relevant subsequent judgment that need not overlap in content with the conflict that originally gave rise to the mindset. We present research demonstrating that the conflict mindset broadens cognitive scope, as well as serves a proactive function for resolving subsequent conflicts. We further describe both intra‐personal and inter‐personal implications of the conflict mindset on an array of variables. We briefly discuss other mindsets that share common features with the conflict mindset, elaborate on the uniqueness of the conflict mindset compared to other cognitive and motivational processes, and present lingering questions and future directions.
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The chapter proposes a model to integrate the cognitive and motivational perspectives on social inference. The model specifies (1) the conditions under which affective and motivational factors do and do not influence inferential processes and (2) the mechanisms through which affective and motivational processes influence inferential processes to produce biased conclusions. The chapter focuses on the role of a self-esteem motive in producing the self-serving attribution bias. This particular motive is chosen because a wide variety of theorists throughout the history of psychology have suggested that the need for self-esteem exerts a powerful influence on people's cognitions and behavior. It should be pointed out; however, the model is quite general and applicable to the mechanisms through which other motives influence inferences as well. Influenced by recent developments in cognitive psychology and information processing, the theorists focus on the way people encode and organize—the retrieve information and on the knowledge structures—transformation rules and heuristics that are used to make inferences of various kinds. The chapter briefly discusses some of the major influences on various steps in the sequence when the only goal of the process is to arrive at an accurate attribution for the observed event.
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The priming literature has documented the influence of trait terms held outside of conscious awareness on later judgment relevant to the primed trait dimension. The present research demonstrated that spontaneous trait inferences can serve as self-generated primes. In Experiment 1, Ss instructed to memorize trait-implying sentences (thus spontaneously inferring traits outside of consciousness) showed assimilation effects in judgment. Ss instructed to form inferences from these sentences (thus consciously inferring traits) showed contrast effects. Experiment 2 demonstrated that these findings were due to semantic activation rather than to a general evaluative response. When evaluatively inconsistent trait constructs were primed. similar patterns of assimilation and contrast were found. Implications for the ubiquitous occurrence of priming through the process of social categorization are discussed.
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When Ss solve functional fixedness problems do they formulate the solution and then look for the object needed, or does perception of the functionally fixed object itself trigger solution? Duncker’s candle problem was administered in tactual form so that discrete observing responses (touching the functionally fixed object, a box filled with tacks) could be observed and counted by E. Problem solution occurred upon contact with the functionally fixed object. The specific contact immediately preceding problem solution was usually adventitious.
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Three experiments tested whether counterfactual events can serve as primes. The evidence supports the hypothesis that counterfactuals prime a mental simulation mind-set that leads people to consider alternatives. Exposure to counterfactual scenarios affected person perception judgments in a later, unrelated task and this effect was distinct from semantic construct priming. Moreover, these effects were dependent on the availability of salient possible outcomes in the person perception task. Direction of the counterfactual comparison, upward or downward, did not moderate any of the effects, providing evidence that the process of thinking counterfactually, and not the content of the counterfactuals, was responsible for the priming effects. These experiments also provide evidence that the effects of mind-set accessibility, similar to semantic construct accessibility, are limited by the applicability of the primes to the later judgments. Implications for the nature of priming effects are discussed.
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Five studies examined D. Kahneman and A. Tversky's (see record 1986-21899-001) hypothesis that events become more "normal" and generate weaker reactions the more strongly they evoke representations of similar events. In each study, Ss were presented with 1 of 2 versions of a scenario that described the occurrence of an improbable event. The scenarios equated the a priori probability of the target event, but manipulated the ease of mentally simulating the event by varying the absolute number of similar events in the population. Depending on the study, Ss were asked to indicate whether they thought the event was due to chance as opposed to (a) an illegitimate action on the part of the benefited protagonist, or (b) the intentional or unintentional misrepresentation of the probability of the event. As predicted, the fewer ways the events could have occurred by chance, the less inclined Ss were to assume that the low-probability event occurred by chance. The implications of these findings for impression-management dynamics and stereotype revision are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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It is now well-established that stereotypes can become activated unintentionally and outside of awareness by the presence of the relevant group features. There is also a long tradition of theory and evidence that perceptual and behavioral processes are intimately related (e.g., Berkowitz, 1984; James, 1890; Piaget, 1948). Considering these two phenomena together suggests that stereotype activation can cause the perceiver to act in stereotype-consistent ways, and recent evidence confirms this prediction (Bargh, Chen, & Burrows, 1996). The present study extended these findings by showing that the perceiver's stereotype-consistent behavior causes the target person to reciprocate in kind, thereby confirming the perceiver's stereotypic beliefs. Compared to a control condition, subliminal activation of the African American stereotype in participants resulted in greater hostility in their interaction partners (as rated by outside judges) and more extreme hostility ratings of the targets by their perceiver partner.
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Previous research has suggested that an effective strategy for debiasing judgments is to have participants "consider the opposite." The present research proposes that considering any plausible alternative outcome for an event, not just the opposite outcome, leads participants to simulate multiple alternatives, resulting in debiased judgments. Three experiments tested this hypothesis using an explanation task paradigm. Participants in all studies were asked to explain either 1 hypothetical outcome (single explanation conditions) or 2 hypothetical outcomes (multiple explanation conditions) to an event; after the explanation task, participants made likelihood judgments. The results of Studies 1 and 2 indicated that debiasing occurred in all multiple explanation conditions, including those that did not involve the opposite outcome. Furthermore, the findings indicated that debiased judgments resulted from participants' spontaneous consideration of additional alternatives in making their likelihood judgments. The results of Study 3 also identified the perceived plausibility of the explained alternative as an important moderating variable in debiasing. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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In 4 separate investigations, female undergraduates were provided with hypotheses about the personal attributes of other individuals (targets). Ss then prepared to test these hypotheses (i.e., that their targets were extraverts or that their targets were introverts) by choosing a series of questions to ask their targets in a forthcoming interview. In each investigation, Ss planned to test these hypotheses by preferentially searching for behavioral evidence that would confirm the hypotheses. Moveover, these search procedures channeled social interaction between Ss and targets in ways that caused the targets to provide actual behavioral confirmation for Ss' hypotheses. A theoretical analysis of the psychological processes believed to underlie and generate both the preferential search for hypothesis-confirming behavioral evidence and the interpersonal consequences of hypothesis-testing activities is presented. (15 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Counterfactual thoughts ("might-have-been" reconstructions of past outcomes) may serve an affective function (feeling better) and a preparative function (future improvement). Three studies showed that counterfactuals varying in their direction and structure may differentially serve these 2 functions. Direction influenced affect such that downward (vs upward) counterfactuals caused more positive affect. Direction influenced intentions such that upward (vs downward) counterfactuals heightened intentions to perform success-facilitating behaviors. Both direction and structure influenced performance on an anagram task such that upward and additive (vs downward and subtractive) counterfactuals engendered greater improvement. These findings suggest that people can strategically use downward counterfactuals to make themselves feel better and upward and additive counterfactuals to improve performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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A number of philosophers and psychologists stress the importance of disconfirmation in reasoning and suggest that people are instead prone to a general deleterious "confirmation bias." In particular, it is suggested that people tend to test those cases that have the best chance of verifying current beliefs rather than those that have the best chance of falsifying them. We show, however, that many phenomena labeled "confirmation bias" are better understood in terms of a general positive test strategy. With this strategy, there is a tendency to test cases that are expected (or known) to have the property of interest rather than those expected (or known) to lack that property. We show that the positive test strategy can be a very good heuristic for determining the truth or falsity of a hypothesis under realistic conditions. It can, however, lead to systematic errors or inefficiencies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Recent research has indicated that a perceiver's expectancies about a target person can lead that perceiver to channel social interaction with the target in such a way that the target person's behavioral response may confirm the original expectancy, thus producing a self-fulfulling prophecy. It is suggested that once the target person behaves, the target may undergo a self-perception process and internalize the very disposition that the perceiver expected him or her to possess. Such a change in the target person's self-concept is apt to affect his or her behavior in future and different situations not involving the original perceiver. To test this hypothesis, 40 undergraduates first participated in an initial interaction with the experimenter, which purposefully was biased to produce either introverted or extraverted behavior on the part of the target S. On both a subsequent self-description measure and on a variety of behavioral measures involving a subsequent interaction with a confederate, Ss displayed evidence of having internalized the dispositions implied by their earlier responses during this initial interaction. Implications for the self-fulfilling prophecy are discussed. (29 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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We propose that people imagine alternatives to reality (counterfactuals) in assessing the casual role of a prior event. This process of mental simulation (D. Kahneman and A. Tversky, 1982) is used to derive novel predictions about the effects of default events on causal attribution. A default event is the alternative event that most readily comes to mind when a factual event is mentally mutated. The factual event is judged to be causal to the extent that its default undoes the outcome. In Experiment 1, a woman was described as having died from an allergic reaction to a meal ordered by her boss. When the boss was described as having considered another meal without the allergic ingredient, people were more likely to mutate his decision and his causal role in the death was judged to be greater than when the alternative meal was also said to have the allergic ingredient. In Experiment 2, a paraplegic couple was described as having died in an auto accident after having been denied a cab ride. People perceived the cabby's refusal to take the couple as a stronger cause of the deaths when his taking the couple would have undone the accident than when it would have not have. We conclude that an adequate theory of causal judgment requires an understanding of these counterfactual simulations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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160 undergraduates in 3 experiments were induced to explain particular events in the later lives of clinical patients whose previous case histories they had read, and they were then asked to estimate the likelihood of the events in question. Each experiment indicated that the task of identifying potential antecedents to explain an event increases that event's subjective likelihood. This phenomenon was replicated across a variety of clinical case studies and predicted events and was evident both under conditions in which Ss initially believed the events they explained to be authentic, only to learn afterward that no information actually existed about the later life of the patient, and under conditions in which Ss knew from the outset that their explanations were merely hypothetical. Implications for previous investigations dealing with belief perserverance and the consequences of hindsight perspective are outlined, and potential boundary conditions of the observed effect are discussed. (23 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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A total of 130 Ss in 2 experiments within a debriefing paradigm examined the perseverance of social theories. Ss were initially given 2 case studies suggestive of either a positive or a negative relationship between risk taking and success as a firefighter. Some Ss were asked to provide a written explanation of the relationship; others were not. Experimental Ss were thoroughly debriefed concerning the fictitious nature of the initial case studies; some Ss were not debriefed. Subsequent assessments of Ss' personal beliefs about the relationship indicated that even when initially based on weak data, social theories can survive the total discrediting of that initial evidential base. Correlational and experimental results suggest that such unwarranted theory perseverance may be mediated, in part, by the cognitive process of formulating causal scenarios or explanations. Normative issues and the cognitive processes underlying perseverance are examined, and possible techniques for overcoming unwarranted theory perseverance are discussed. (20 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Research on automatic behavior demonstrates the ability of stereotypes to elicit stereotype-consistent behavior. Social judgment research proposes that whereas traits and stereotypes elicit assimilation, priming of exemplars can elicit judgmental contrast by evoking social comparisons. This research extends these findings by showing that priming exemplars can elicit behavioral contrast by evoking a social comparison. In Study 1, priming professor or supermodel stereotypes led, respectively, to more and fewer correct answers on a knowledge test (behavioral assimilation), but priming exemplars of these categories led to the reverse pattern (behavioral contrast). In Study 2, participants walked away faster after being primed with an elderly exemplar. In Study 3, the proposition that contrast effects reflect comparisons of the self with the exemplar was supported. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Counterfactuals are mental representations of alternatives to the past and produce consequences that are both beneficial and aversive to the individual. These apparently contradictory effects are integrated in a functionalist model of counterfactual thinking. The author reviews research in support of the assertions that (a) counterfactual thinking is activated automatically in response to negative affect, (b) the content of counterfactuals targets particularly likely causes of misfortune, (c) counterfactuals produce negative affective consequences through a contrast-effect mechanism and positive inferential consequences through a causal-inference mechanism, and (d) the net effect of counterfactual thinking is beneficial.
Article
Counterfactuals are mental representations of alternatives to the past and produce consequences that are both beneficial and aversive to the individual. These apparently contradictory effects are integrated into a functionalist model of counterfactual thinking. The author reviews research in support of the assertions that (a) counterfactual thinking is activated automatically in response to negative affect, (b) the content of counterfactuals targets particularly likely causes of misfortune, (c) counterfactuals produce negative affective consequences through a contrast-effect mechanism and positive inferential consequences through a causal-inference mechanism, and (d) the net effect of counterfactual thinking is beneficial.
Article
Observed in 3 experiments that impressions of an ambiguously described stimulus person were assimilated toward the implications of primed concepts when performance of the priming task was interrupted, but they were contrasted with these implications when performance of the priming task was allowed to continue to completion. In Exp I, with 36 female undergraduates, when the primed concepts were evaluatively consistent, assimilation and contrast were observed on both prime-related and prime-unrelated dimensions. In Exp II, with 40 female undergraduates, when the primed concepts were evaluatively inconsistent, these shifts in impression were observed only on dimensions directly related to the primed concepts. In Exp III, with 44 undergraduates, when no concepts descriptively relevant to the stimulus information were primed, the assimilation and contrast were relative to the favorableness of a primed general evaluative person concept. Results suggest that (1) a concept may be accessible to an individual and may be relevant to target information, yet not be used to encode that information; (2) assimilation and contrast may occur for reasons other than the discrepancy between the target and the contextual stimuli on the dimension of judgment; and (3) individuals may use the evaluative implications of their person representation as a cue in deciding which of several equally applicable, equally accessible descriptive concepts to use in interpreting information about a person. (37 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
How might being outcome dependent on another person influence the processes that one uses to form impressions of that person? We designed three experiments to investigate this question with respect to short-term, task-oriented outcome dependency. In all three experiments, subjects expected to interact with a young man formerly hospitalized as a schizophrenic, and they received information about the person's attributes in either written profiles or videotapes. In Experiment 1, short-term, task-oriented outcome dependency led subjects to use relatively individuating processes (i.e., to base their impressions of the patient on his particular attributes), even under conditions that typically lead subjects to use relatively category-based processes (i.e., to base their impressions on the patient's schizophrenic label). Moreover, in the conditions that elicited individuating processes, subjects spent more time attending to the patient's particular attribute information. Experiment 2 demonstrated that the attention effects in Experiment 1 were not merely a function of impression positivity and that outcome dependency did not influence the impression formation process when attribute information in addition to category-level information was unavailable. Finally, Experiment 3 manipulated not outcome dependency but the attentional goal of forming an accurate impression. We found that accuracy-driven attention to attribute information also led to individuating processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Conference Paper
Counterfactual thoughts (''might-have-been'' reconstructions of past outcomes) may serve an affective function (feeling better) and a preparative function (future improvement). Three studies showed that counterfactuals varying in their direction and structure may differentially serve these 2 functions. Direction influenced affect such that downward (vs. upward) counterfactuals caused more positive affect. Direction influenced intentions such that upward (vs. downward) counterfactuals heightened intentions to perform success-facilitating behaviors. Both direction and structure influenced performance on an anagram task such that upward and additive (vs. downward and subtractive) counterfactuals engendered greater improvement. These findings suggest that people can strategically use downward counterfactuals to make themselves feel better and upward and additive counterfactuals to improve performance.
Article
Previous research indicates that our initial impressions of events frequently influence how we interpret later information. This experiment explored whether accountability-pressures to justify one's impressions to others-leads people to process information more vigilantly and, as a result, reduces the undue influence of early-formed impressions on final judgments. Subjects viewed evidence from a criminal case and then assessed the guilt of the defendant. The study varied (1) the order of presentation of pro-vs. anti-defendant information, (2) whether subjects expected to justify their decisions and, if so, whether subjects realized that they were accountable prior to or only after viewing the evidence. The results indicated that subjects given the anti/pro-defendant order of information were more likely to perceive the defendant as guilty than subjects given the pro/anti-defendant order of information, but only when subjects did not expect to justify their decisions or expected to justify their decisions only after viewing the evidence. Order of presentation of evidence had no impact when subjects expected to justify their decisions before viewing the evidence. Accountability prior to the evidence evidence also substantially improved free recall of the case material. The results suggest that accountability reduces primacy effects by affecting how people initially encode and process stimulus information.
Article
Three studies examined the effects of expectancy violation and outcome valence on spontaneous counterfactual thinking. In Study 1, prior expectations and outcome valence were varied orthogonally in a vignette. More counterfactuals were generated after failures and unexpected outcomes. Also, more additive than subtractive counterfatuals were found after failure, particularly unexpected failure, and more subtractive than additive counterfactuals were found after unexpected success. Evidence for the generality of these results was obtained in Study 2, in which counterfactuals were assessed after students' real-life exam performances. In Study 3, the authors further assessed nonspontaneous counterfactuals, which were shown to differ in number and structure from spontaneous counterfactuals. Discussion centers around antecedents to spontaneous counterfactual thinking and comparisons to research on spontaneous causal attributions.
Article
Two experiments suggested differential determinants of the activation versus content of counterfactual thinking. Activation refers to whether counterfactuals consciously come to mind and was assessed by thought-listing and response-latency measures. Content refers to which antecedent forms the basis of the counterfactual and was assessed using categorical codings of thought-listings. Counterfactual activation was facilitated by negative as opposed to positive outcomes, and this effect was mediated by affective experience. Expectancy violation did not influence counterfactual activation. Normality (whether an outcome was preceded by exceptional versus normal events) had no effect on activation, but it did influence content in such a way that counterfactuals more often mutated exceptional than normal antecedents. These findings are consistent with a functionalist depiction of counterfactual thinking.
Article
Presents a theory of norms and normality and applies the theory to phenomena of emotional responses, social judgment, and conversations about causes. Norms are assumed to be constructed ad hoc by recruiting specific representations. Category norms are derived by recruiting exemplars. Specific objects or events generate their own norms by retrieval of similar experiences stored in memory or by construction of counterfactual alternatives. The normality of a stimulus is evaluated by comparing it with the norms that it evokes after the fact, rather than to precomputed expectations. Norm theory is applied in analyses of the enhanced emotional response to events that have abnormal causes, of the generation of predictions and inferences from observations of behavior, and of the role of norms in causal questions and answers. (3 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
To study productive thinking where it is most conspicuous in great achievements is certainly a temptation, and without a doubt, important information about the genesis of productive thought could be found in biographical material. A problem arises when a living creature has a goal but does not know how this goal is to be reached. Whenever one cannot go from the given situation to the desired situation simply by action, then there has to be recourse to thinking. The subjects ( S s), who were mostly students of universities or of colleges, were given various thinking problems, with the request that they think aloud. This instruction, "Think aloud", is not identical with the instruction to introspect which has been common in experiments on thought-processes. While the introspecter makes himself as thinking the object of his attention, the subject who is thinking aloud remains immediately directed to the problem, so to speak allowing his activity to become verbal. It is the shift of function of the components of a complex mathematical pattern—a shift which must so often occur if a certain structure is to be recognized in a given pattern—it is this restructuration, more precisely: this transformation of function within a system, which causes more or less difficulty for thinking, as one individual or another tries to find a mathematical proof.
Chapter
This chapter describes the role of naïve theories of bias in bias correction in the flexible correction model. The notion of bias correction was reviewed across a variety of research domains. Corrections are often the result of people consulting their naive theories of the influence of potentially biasing factors on their perception of the target. This view differs from competing views of bias correction because a view of corrections based on perceivers' naive theories of bias allows for a more flexible set of corrections than those proposed by other current models of bias removal. The chapter illustrates that flexible correction model (FCM) principles demonstrate the relevance of the perspective to a variety of research areas (including persuasion, attribution, impression formation, stereotyping, and mood). Finally, this chapter hopes that research and theory based on flexible correction notions will help to build a unifying framework within which correction processes in many areas of psychology can be investigated and explained.
Article
Norm theory (Kahneman & Miller, 1986) identifies factors that determine the ease with which alternatives to reality can be imagined or constructed. One assumption of norm theory is that the greater the availability of imagined alternatives to an event, the stronger will be the affective reaction elicited by the event. The present two experiments explore this assumption in the context of observers' reactions to victims. It was predicted that negative outcomes that strongly evoked positive alternatives would elicit more sympathy from observers than negative outcomes that weakly evoked positive alternatives. The ease of counterfactual thought was manipulated in the first experiment by the spatial distance between the negative outcome and a positive alternative, and in the second experiment by the habitualness of the actions that precipitated the victimization. Consistent with norm theory, subjects recommended more compensation for victims of fates for which a positive alternative was highly available. Implications of the results for various types of reactions to victims are discussed.
Article
The present study examined the immediate and delayed effects of unobtrusive exposure to personality trait terms (e.g., "reckless," "persistent") on subjects' subsequent judgments and recollection of information about another person. Before reading a description of a stimulus person, subjects were unobtrusively exposed to either positive or negative trait terms that either could or could not be used to characterize this person. When the trait terms were applicable to the description of the stimulus person, subjects' characterizations and evaluations of the person reflected the denotative and evaluative aspects of the trait categories activated by the prior exposure to these terms. However, the absence of any effects for nonapplicable trait terms suggested that exposure to trait terms with positive or negative associations was not in itself sufficient to determine attributions and evaluations. Prior verbal exposure had little effect on reproduction of the descriptions. Moreover, no reliable difference in either evaluation or reproduction was found between subjects who overtly characterized the stimulus person and those who did not. Exposure to applicable trait terms had a greater delayed than immediate effect on subjects' evaluations of the stimulus person, suggesting that subjects may have discounted their categorizations of the stimulus person when making their immediate evaluations. The implications of individual and situational variation in the accessibility of different categories for judgments of self and others are considered.
Article
Previous attitude-attribution studies indicate that people are often quick to draw conclusions about the attitudes and personalities of others-even when plausible external or situational causes for behavior exist (an affect known as the overattribution effect or fundamental attribution error). This experiment explores whether accountability-pressures to justify one's causal interpretations of behavior to others-reduces or eliminates this bias. Subjects were exposed to an essay that supported or opposed affirmative action. They were informed that the essay writer had freely chosen or had been assigned the position he took. Finally, subjects either did not expect to justify their impressions of the essay writer or expected to justify their impressions either before or after exposure to the stimulus information. The results replicated previous findings when subjects did not feel accountable for their impressions of the essay writer or learned of being accountable only after viewing the stimulus information. Subjects attributed essay-consistent attitudes to the writer even when the writer had been assigned the task of advocating a particular position. Subjects were, however, significantly more sensitive to situational determinants of the essay writer's behavior when they felt accountable for their impressions prior to viewing the stimulus information. The results suggest that accountability eliminated the overattribution effect by affecting how subjects initially encoded and analyzed stimulus information.
Article
This study is concerned with the effects of prior experience on a deceptive reasoning problem. In the first experiment the subjects (students) were presented with the problem after they had experienced its logical structure. This experience was, on the whole, ineffective in allowing subsequent insight to be gained into the problem. In the second experiment the problem was presented in “thematic” form to one group, and in abstract form to the other group. Ten out of 16 subjects solved it in the thematic group, as opposed to 2 out of 16 in the abstract group. Three hypotheses are proposed to account for this result.
Article
This chapter advances to a testable middle-range theory predicated on the politician metaphor: the social contingency model of judgment and choice. This model does not map neatly in any of the traditional levels of analysis: the individual, the small group, the organization, and political system. The unit of study is the individual in relation to these social milieux. The model borrows, qualifies, and elaborates on the cognitive miser image of the thinker that has been so influential in experimental work on social cognition. The model adopts the approval and status-seeker image of human nature that has been so influential in role theory, symbolic interactionism, and impression management theory. The model draws on sociological and anthropological theory concerning the necessary conditions for social order in positing accountability to be a universal feature of natural decision environments. The social contingency model is not tightly linked to any particular methodology. The theoretical eclecticism of the model demands a corresponding commitment to methodological eclecticism. The social contingency model poses problems that cross disciplinary boundaries, and that require a plurality of methodologies. The chapter ends with considering the potential problem of proliferating metaphors in social psychological theory.
Article
The present research investigated the psychological correlates of counterfactual thinking. Building on existing research in this domain, it was predicted that empathic focus would exert considerable influence on the magnitude of counterfactual effects on social judgments. More specifically, it was predicted that whereas a victim set would amplify the effects of counterfactual thinking on accident-related judgments, a perpetrator set would attenuate them. The results obtained strongly supported this prediction. The implications of these findings are considered, and suggestions are offered for future research.
Article
105 male undergraduates were primed with either competitive or neutral words outside of awareness and then played a prisoner's dilemma game. Results indicate that the subliminal primes, in interaction with the Ss' behavioral predispositions toward competitiveness or cooperation in the game situation, had a significant influence on competitiveness. Competitive Ss played more competitively when exposed to the competitive primes than when exposed to the neutral primes. Competitive Ss exposed to the competitive primes played much more competitively than did cooperative Ss exposed to the same competitive primes. Mediating mechanisms and the generalizability of subliminal priming effects are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The mental processes by which people construct scenarios, or examples, resemble the running of the simulation model. Mental simulation appears to be used to make predictions, assess probabilities and evaluate casual statements. A particular form of simulation, which concerns the mental undoing of certain events, plays an important role in the analysis of regret and close calls. Two rules of mental undoing are proposed. According to the downhill rule, people undo events by removing surprising or unexpected occurrences. According to the focus rule, people manipulate the entities on which they focus. The implications of the rules of undoing and mental simulation to the evaluation of scenarios are discussed. (Author)
Article
Three experiments tested the hypothesis that people high and low in prejudice respond similarly to direct stereotype activation but differently to category activation. Study I ( N = 40) showed that high- and low-prejudice people share the same knowledge of the stereotype of Black people. In Study 2, ( N = 51) high-prejudice participants formed a more negative and less positive impression of the target person after subliminal priming of the category Blacks than did participants in the no-prime condition. Low-prejudice people tended in the opposite direction. In Study 3 ( N = 45), both high- and low-prejudice people increased negative ratings when valenced stereotype content was also primed. These findings support a distinction between automatic stereotype activation resulting from direct priming and that consequent upon category activation, implying that the relations among categorization, stereotyping, and prejudice are more flexible than it is often assumed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Examines the role of control and automaticity in social life. The question of when and how people control their behavior, and the related but not identical questions of when and how behavior occurs automatically is reviewed. Are people in control of their behavior in interactions with other people, the opinions they form of those others, their emotional reactions to events of the day? To what extent are people aware of the important determinants of their judgments, emotions, and actions, such as the powerful effects of authority and conformity and the presence of others? Classic studies in this field in the area of social psychology are considered with a view toward exploring how concerns about control or automaticity of behavior have been historically central to the field. The concepts of control and automaticity are defined, first by looking at the nature of each idea and then by considering how they are interrelated. The social psychological literature on a series of topics for which issues of control and automaticity have special relevance is examined. These include attitudes, social cognition, emotion, and expressive behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The experiments in this dissertation explored the role of perspective-taking in debiasing social thought and improving intergroup relations. In the first four experiments, perspective-taking was contrasted with stereotype suppression as a possible strategy for achieving stereotype control. Previous research has found that stereotype suppression can ironically make stereotypic thoughts more, rather than less, accessible. In Experiment 1, participants were shown a photograph of an elderly male and asked to write a short narrative essay about the typical day in the life of that individual. After a series of filler tasks, participants then completed a lexical decision task that was used to measure the accessibility of the stereotype of the elderly. The results showed that both perspective-takers and stereotype suppressors expressed fewer stereotypic thoughts in their narrative essays about the elderly male compared to a control condition, but only perspective-takers expressed more positive evaluations of the target. Only suppressors, on the other hand, demonstrated heightened accessibility of the stereotype compared to perspective-takers and participants in the control condition in the subsequent lexical decision task. Experiment 2 replicated the basic procedure and effects of Experiment 1 using a more socially sensitive stereotype (i.e., the photographed individual was an African-American male). In Experiment 3, after taking the perspective of an African-American male, perspective-takers rated discrimination against African-Americans to be a continuing, unsolved problem, but they did not rate, compared to suppressors, that contemporary discrimination was still a significant liability for women (Experiment 4), suggesting that the benefits of perspective-taking may be group specific. Experiment 5 utilized the minimal group paradigm in order to test whether perspective-taking could affect intergroup relations. Perspective-taking reduced evidence of in-group bias by increasing evaluations of the out-group. In addition, perspective-taking increased the positivity of the connotative meaning of group-relevant words (e.g., cooperative, kind) in the context of the out-group. Finally, perspective-taking led to the selection of more hypothesis-disconfirming questions, but only when the perspective-taking instructions were particularly vivid and descriptive (Experiment 6). Across the six experiments, perspective-taking reduced a variety of biases suggesting that it is a robust strategy for debiasing thought in an increasingly multicultural and diverse social world. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Attempted to provide the theoretical basis for a tripartite linkage between counterfactuals (CFs), the hindsight bias (HB), and causal attributions (CAs). 100 Ss participated in Exp 1, designed to show that a manipulation of CF availability can influence causal and hindsight judgments. 85 Ss participated in Exp 2, in which the effect of outcome information on likelihood estimates to document the HB in its traditional between-Ss guise and the mediating role of CAs were assessed. Exp 3 integrated the findings of Exp 1 and 2 to combine the between-Ss HB and the standard CF. Results of Exps 1 and 3 showed that manipulations of CF thinking heighten the HB. All 3 experiments suggest that a facilitative effect of CFs on the HB is mediated by causal inference. Overall results indicate that negative outcomes are more likely to trigger sensemaking cognitions (e.g., CF and CA), thereby increasing the HB, than are positive outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
it makes no qualitative difference for social psychological phenomena whether the subject is aware of the stimulus event or not / what does matter is whether or not the individual is aware of the ways in which the stimulus is interpreted and categorized, and the influence of this awareness on subsequent processing / subliminality of stimulus presentation, therefore, is important not because of the subliminality per se but because one cannnot be aware of the influence of a subliminally presented stimulus (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Two studies examined the heuristic and systematic processing of accuracy-versus impression-moti-vated individuals expecting a discussion with a partner believed to hold either a favorable or unfa-vorable opinion on the discussion issue. Given the goal of having a pleasant interaction, impression-motivated (versus accuracy-motivated) participants in both studies were particularly likely to ex-press attitudes that were evaluatively consistent with the partner's opinion, reflecting their selective use of a "go along to get along" heuristic. Study 2 yielded stronger evidence for the distinct nature of heuristic and systematic processing in the service of accuracy versus impression goals. In this study, the evaluative implication of impression-motivated participants' low-effort application of a "go along to get along" heuristic biased their more effortful, systematic processing, leading to attitudes consis-tent with the partner's views. In contrast, given the goal of determining an accurate issue opinion, accuracy-motivated participants exhibited relatively evenhanded systematic processing, resulting in attitudes unbiased by the partner's opinion. The results underscore the utility of a dual-process approach to understanding motivated cognition. Intuition and experience suggest that various motives can in-fluence the way in which people process information and the judgments that result. That is, the motivated perceiver's cogni-tive processes will be a direct reflection of the goals that they are intended to satisfy. Using the heuristic-systematic model (Chaiken, 1980, 1987; Chaiken, Liberman, & Eagly, 1989) as a theoretical framework, the present research aims to elucidate the distinct ways in which accuracy versus impression motives are served by both heuristic and systematic processes.
Article
In the present study, subjects had to generate an evaluative judgment about a target person on the basis of his behaviour that had both positive and negative implications. In a previous phase of the study that was ostensibly unrelated to the judgment task, the relevant trait categories were primed. Subsequently, half of the subjects were reminded of the priming episode. Consistent with earlier research (e.g. Lombardi, Higgins and Bargh, 1987; Newman and Uleman, 1990) that used memory of the priming events as a correlational measure, a contrast effect was found under the ‘reminding’ condition and assimilation resulted when subjects were not reminded of the priming episode. This pattern of results is interpreted as the consequence of corrective influences.
Article
The present studies tested the applicability of current notions concerning the determinants and consequences of construct accessibility to a situation involving interrelational constructs and the creative use of physical objects. In all three studies, subjects were shown a series of objects to remember that were described with either an undifferentiated linguistic construction (e.g., “tray of tomatoes”) or a differentiated linguistic construction (e.g., “tray and tomatoes”). Subjects were then given K. Duncker's (Psychological Monographs 1945, 58, 5, Whole No. 270) candle problem, ostensibly to examine the effects of an interfering task on long-term memory. Solution of the candle problem requires recognizing that a box filled with tacks can be used as a platform for the candle rather than just being a container for the tacks. Previous exposure to memory items described with the differentiated “and” construction increased the likelihood that subjects later differentiated the box from the tacks in their descriptions, and this differentiation, in turn, facilitated solving the candle problem. The implications of these results for extending the emerging theory of construct accessibility to interpersonal and organizational aspects of social behavior, as well as to creativity and the linguistic relativity hypothesis, are discussed.
Article
This chapter reviews recent research relevant to two interlocking ideas: negative emotions are an important trigger of counterfactual thinking, and such thoughts may often contain inferential benefits for the individual. These ideas intersect to the extent that negative affect is viewed as an adaptive signal to the individual that something is wrong and corrective action is required. If counterfactual thinking is activated by negative affect, these thoughts will be produced selectively under those circumstances in which corrective thought and action are most beneficial. The chapter provides counterfactuals focus on the ways in which things could have been better and, by way of a contrast effect, could create more negative affect. Counterfactual thoughts influence a variety of social judgments—including causation, blame, hindsight bias, and expectancies. This chapter describes research that has provided evidence for counterfactual functionality in terms of the situational precursors and inferential benefits of such thought processes.