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Outcome or expectancy?: antecedent of spontaneous causal attribution

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Past attributional studies have produced a consensus that negative and unexpected outcomes promote spontaneous causal search. Howwever, there is no theoretical reason to believe that outcome has an effect on spontaneous causal attribution independent of expectancy. Past studies thatfound the outcome effect all sufferfrom the methodological problems of (a) lack of spontaneity in elicited attributions and/or (b) improper manipulation. Experiment I (N = 44) introduced rigorous control of the two independent variables and showed that only expectancy has an independent effect on spontaneous causal thinking. Experiment 2 (N = 100) showed that, although expectancy is the only antecedent to spontaneous causal attribution, outcome does affect nonspontaneous causal search, giving a strong indication that the lack of spontaneity accounts for the outcome effect found in the past studies.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/27294/

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