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Blaming Badly

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Knobe and Burra show that people will ascribe internationality to outcomes that an actor had no intention to effect. I describe this ostensibly contradictory effect in terms of outcome bias – the tendency for people to blame actors for the outcomes of their actions, independent of their casual and intentional role in the event. Whereas intention refers to an actor's pre-behavioral desires, intentionality characterizes an event that includes both behavior and outcome. Thus, while people recognize that the actor did not desire for the outcome to occur, they ascribe intentionality as a means of registering diaspproval for what ultimately did occur. I describe these findings in terms of my culpable control (Alicke, 2000) model of blame.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Ohio University, Athens, OH, 45701, USA


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