Heussen, Daniel, Belardi, Phie and Kusev, Petko (2008) Loss aversion in contrastive explanations. In: Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, 13-16th November 2008, Chicago, Illinois, USA. (Unpublished)

People do not explain a fact per se but generate explanations by contrasting the
target fact with some alternative comparison. Why did Obama receive more votes than Clinton? What is considered the to-be-explained fact
and what the contrast affects the way we explain the difference. Miller, Taylor, and Buck (1991) showed that for differences in voting behavior, men were considered the contrast group, whereas women’s behavior had
to be explained. Here, 242 participants explained differences between males and females in typical and neutral attributes for stereotypical gender roles, such as being ambitious for professional football players
or ballet dancers. Explanations were coded as predominately about either males or females. Presenting the difference, as “females are more
ambitious than males,” focused most explanations on males. However, exactly the same difference, presented as “males are less ambitious than females,” divided explanations equally between males and females.

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