is our reward

Publications in Causal Learning by NOMIS researchers

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

May 3, 2023

Why do some explanations strike people as highly satisfying while others, seemingly equally accurate, satisfy them less? We asked laypeople to generate and rate thousands of open-ended explanations in response to ‘Why?’ questions spanning multiple domains, and analyzed the properties of these explanations to discover (1) what kinds of features are associated with greater explanation quality; (2) whether people can tell how good their explanations are; and (3) which cognitive traits predict the ability to generate good explanations. Our results support a pluralistic view of explanation, where satisfaction is best predicted by either functional or mechanistic content. Respondents were better able to judge how accurate their explanations were than how satisfying they were to others. Insight problem solving ability was the cognitive ability most strongly associated with the generation of satisfying explanations. © 2023 Elsevier B.V.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences, Experimental Psychology