Publication Date

2014

Abstract

People who are high in causal uncertainty doubt their own ability to understand the causes of social events. In three studies, we examined the effects of target and perceiver causal uncertainty on attitudes toward the target. Target causal uncertainty was manipulated via responses on a causal uncertainty scale in Studies 1 and 2, and with a scenario in Study 3. In Studies 1 and 2, we found that participants liked the low causal uncertainty target more than the high causal uncertainty target. This preference was stronger for low relative to high causal uncertainty participants because high causal uncertainty participants held more uncertain ideals. In Study 3, we examined the value individuals place upon causal understanding (causal importance) as an additional moderator. We found that regardless of their own causal uncertainty level, participants who were high in causal importance liked the low causal uncertainty target more than the high causal uncertainty target. However, when participants were low in causal importance, low causal uncertainty perceivers showed no preference and high causal uncertainty perceivers preferred the high causal uncertainty target. These findings reveal that goal importance and ideals can influence how perceivers respond to causal uncertainty in others.

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

Access Rights

Open Access

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