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date: 05 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Attribution processes appear to be an integral part of human visual perception, as low-level inferences of causality and intentionality appear to be automatic and are supported by specific brain systems. However, higher-order attribution processes use information held in memory or made present at the time of judgment. While attribution processes about social objects are sometimes biased, there is scope for partial correction. This chapter reviews work on the generation, communication, and interpretation of complex explanations, with reference to explanation-based models of text understanding that result in situation models of narratives. It distinguishes between causal connection and causal selection, and suggests that a factor will be discounted if it is not perceived to be connected to the event and backgrounded if it is perceived to be causally connected to that event, but is not selected as relevant to an explanation. The final section focuses on how interpersonal explanation processes constrain causal selection.

Keywords: attribution, causality, intentionality, memory, communication

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