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Three principles of explanation: verb schemas, balance, and imbalance repair

Rudolph, Udo and Von Hecker, Ulrich ORCID: 2006. Three principles of explanation: verb schemas, balance, and imbalance repair. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 25 (4) , pp. 377-405. 10.1177/0261927X06292766

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Two studies demonstrated that explanations of interpersonal events are governed by the principles of implicit verb causality and balance. In addition, the data indicate that subjectively imbalanced interpersonal events (e.g., John admires Jack because he is so arrogant) elicit processes designed to achieve imbalance repair. In contrast to previous studies, we analyzed subjective (rather than objective) balance and imbalance as well as the cognitive processes mediating the repair of subjectively imbalanced situations. The results suggest that repair mechanisms implied by perceived imbalance vary consistently for different kinds of verbs. Moreover, imbalance repair results in highly systematic attributions to different persons or specific interactions between the persons involved, in line with predictions derived from Kelley's covariation principle. Additional analyses of perceived covariation information provided evidence that these repair mechanisms are mediated by reevaluations of covariation information implicit in the meaning of the verbs used to describe the interpersonal event.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: implicit verb causality; covariation; attribution; balance
Publisher: Sage Publications
ISSN: 0261-927X
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2022 09:36

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