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'If only counterfactuals and the exceptionality effect'

Institution: Erlbaum
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People create counterfactual ‘if only’ alternatives that change
exceptional actions to be normal (e.g., ‘if only he had placed
his usual small bet he would have lost less money’). Two
experiments show that this effect is reversed when an
exceptional alternative leads to a better outcome. Experiment
1 demonstrated the standard effect: an exceptional action that
leads to a bad outcome is changed to a usual one when an
exceptional alternative does not lead to a better outcome.
Experiment 2 reversed the effect: an exceptional action that
leads to a good outcome is changed to an exceptional
alternative when the alternative might have led to an even
better outcome. Both experiments also show that participants
construct different counterfactual thoughts when they think
not only about the outcome but also about the decision the
actor makes. The implications for theories of the
counterfactual imagination are discussed.

Related: http://csjarchive.cogsci.rpi.edu/proceedings/2009/papers/635/index.html
Suggested citation:

. () 'If only counterfactuals and the exceptionality effect' [Online]. Available from: http://www.thehealthwell.info/node/632878 [Accessed: 17th November 2018].

  

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