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How the Mind Explains Behavior: Folk Explanations, Meaning, and Social Interaction

Overview

In this monograph, Bertram Malle describes behavior explanations as having a dual nature - as being both cognitive and social acts - and proposes a comprehensive theoretical model that integrates the two aspects. When people try to understand puzzling human behavior, they construct behavior explanations, which are a fundamental tool of social cognition. But Malle argues, behavior explanations exist not only in the mind; they are also overt verbal actions used for social purposes. When people explain their own ...
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Overview

In this monograph, Bertram Malle describes behavior explanations as having a dual nature - as being both cognitive and social acts - and proposes a comprehensive theoretical model that integrates the two aspects. When people try to understand puzzling human behavior, they construct behavior explanations, which are a fundamental tool of social cognition. But Malle argues, behavior explanations exist not only in the mind; they are also overt verbal actions used for social purposes. When people explain their own behavior or the behavior of others, they are using the explanation to manage a social interaction - by offering clarification, trying to save face, or casting blame. Malle's account makes clear why these two aspects of behavior explanation exist and why they are closely linked; along the way, he illustrates the sophisticated and subtle patterns of folk behavior explanations.
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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"If you've ever wondered why attribution theory and theory of mind, both concerned with explaining the causes of behavior, have had so little to say to each other, this is the book for you. It develops a broad explanatory framework that gives the covariation model of attribution theory its proper place in the wider context of folk psychological explanations."—Josef Perner,Department of Psychology, University of Salzburg
Josef Perner

If you've ever wondered why attribution theory and theory of mind, both concerned with explaining the causes of behavior, have had so little to say to each other, this is the book for you. It develops a broad explanatory framework that gives the covariation model of attribution theory its proper place in the wider context of folk psychological explanations.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262134453
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2004
  • Series: Bradford Books Series
  • Pages: 322
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Bertram Malle is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and the
Institute for Cognitive and Decision Sciences at the University of Oregon. He is the editor of Intentions and Intentionality: Foundations of Social
Cognition
(MIT Press, 2001).
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Table of Contents

1 History : past research on attribution and behavior explanation 5
2 Foundation : the folk theory of mind and behavior 29
3 Origins : why and when people explain behavior 63
4 Conceptual structure : a theory of behavior explanations I 83
5 Psychological construction : a theory of behavior explanations II 117
6 Behavior explanations in language and communication 147
7 Explaining behavior of self and other 173
8 Explaining behavior of individuals and groups 193
9 Looking back and ahead 219
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