Cognition 111 (1):138-143 (2009)

Research has found that children possess a broad bias in favor of teleological - or purpose-based - explanations of natural phenomena. The current two experiments explored whether adults implicitly possess a similar bias. In Study 1, undergraduates judged a series of statements as "good" or "bad" explanations for why different phenomena occur. Judgments occurred in one of three conditions: fast speeded, moderately speeded, or unspeeded. Participants in speeded conditions judged significantly more scientifically unwarranted teleological explanations as correct, but were not more error-prone on control items. Study 2 extended these findings by examining the relationship between different aspects of adults’ "promiscuous teleology" and other variables such as scientific knowledge, religious beliefs, and inhibitory control. Implications of these findings for scientific literacy are discussed.
Keywords Teleology   Cognitive Science   Explanation
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DOI 10.1016/j.cognition.2009.01.001
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Functions.Larry Wright - 1973 - Philosophical Review 82 (2):139-168.

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