University of Leicester
Browse
Frosch_Egan__Hancock_TR_AuthorCopy.pdf (240.87 kB)

The effect of controllability and causality on counterfactual thinking

Download (240.87 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2016-02-26, 12:02 authored by Caren A. Frosch, Suzanne M. Egan, Emily N. Hancock
Previous research on counterfactual thoughts about prevention suggests that people tend to focus on enabling rather than causing events and controllable rather than uncontrollable events. Two experiments explore whether counterfactual thinking about enablers is distinct from counterfactual thinking about controllable events. We presented participants with scenarios in which a cause and an enabler contributed to a negative outcome. We systematically manipulated the controllability of the cause and the enabler and asked participants to generate counterfactuals. The results indicate that when only the cause or the enabler is controllable participants undid the controllable event more often. However, when the cause and enabler are matched in controllability participants undid the enabler slightly more often. The findings are discussed in the context of the mental model, functional and judgement dissociation theories as well as previous research on counterfactual thinking. The importance of controllability and possible reasons for the special role of enablers are considered.

History

Citation

Thinking and Reasoning, 2015, 21 (3), pp. 317-340

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND PSYCHOLOGY/MBSP Non-Medical Departments/Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Thinking and Reasoning

Publisher

Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

issn

1354-6783

eissn

1464-0708

Copyright date

2015

Available date

2016-02-26

Publisher version

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13546783.2014.976268

Language

en

Usage metrics

    University of Leicester Publications

    Categories

    Exports

    RefWorks
    BibTeX
    Ref. manager
    Endnote
    DataCite
    NLM
    DC