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Are mental states assessed relative to what most people “should” or “would” think? Prescriptive and descriptive components of expected attitudes

  • Tamar A. Kreps (a1) and Benoît Monin (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 22 October 2010

For Knobe, observers evaluate mental states by comparing agents' statements with “defaults,” the attitudes they are expected to hold. In our analysis, Knobe's model relies primarily on what agents should think, and little on expectancies of what they would think. We show the importance and complexity of including descriptive and prescriptive norms if one is to take expectancies seriously.

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S. E. Asch (1956) Studies of independence and conformity: A minority of one against a unanimous majority. Psychological Monographs 70(9):170.

A. H. Eagly , W. Wood & S. Chaiken (1978) Causal inference about communicators and their effect on opinion change. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 36:424–35.

D. Pettit & J. Knobe (2009) The pervasive impact of moral judgment. Mind and Language 24:586604.

D. A. Prentice & D. T. Miller (1996) Pluralistic ignorance and the perpetuation of social norms by unwitting actors. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 28:161210.

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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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