Intentionality in intuitive versus analytic processing: Insights from social cognitive neuroscience
Coauthor(s): Michael Morris.
A recurring theme in attribution theory is that lay explanations for intentional and nonintentional behaviors
diverge. In this vein, Reeder proposes in "Mindreading: Judgments About Intentionality and Motives in Dispositional Inference" (this issue) that they evoke different inferential paths that produce different attributional
patterns. This comment considers Reeder's proposal of diverging
paths in relation to another duality in social inference research, spontaneous versus deliberate processing. In our view, Reeder's dismissal of the relevance of
processing mode is amissed opportunity for theoretical integration and elaboration. Mounting evidence from social cognitive neuroscience (SCN) research has revealed
networks of brain regions distinctively recruited in spontaneous and deliberate processing and elucidated
functional components of each system (Satpute
& Lieberman, 2006). The SCN literature suggests that intentionality-divergence arguments
by Reeder and others may need to be qualified in some respects, for although both systems respect the difference
between intentional and nonintentional behavior, they do so in different ways that yield different attributional
outcomes. However, on the bright side, SCN research can inform aspects of Reeder's model that are
currently underspecified, such as: How do perceivers register that a behavior is intentional versus nonintentional
in the first place? And how do perceivers recognize "hard" versus "soft" situational constraints in
order to draw different inferences from them?
Source: Psychological Inquiry
Morris, Michael, and Malia Mason. "Intentionality in intuitive versus analytic processing: Insights from social cognitive neuroscience." Psychological Inquiry 20, no. 1 (January 2009): 58-65.