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The impact of object animacy on the appraisal of causality.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
The American journal of psychology
Publication Date
Volume
121
Issue
3
Pages
473–500
Identifiers
PMID: 18792720
Source
Medline

Abstract

The goal of this study was to examine whether animacy of objects affected the appraisal of a causal relationship when one object was observed to propel the other either immediately, after a delay, or at a distance. Participants rated the degree of causal interaction either before or after an extended experience with observing the interactions. We expected that spatial distance would have little effect when objects were seen as animate (because social interactions often span spatial gaps) and would have a degrading effect when objects were appraised as inanimate. Motion animacy appeared to attenuate the impact of a gap and to decrease initial causal judgments for direct collisions. Explicitly informing participants about the nature of the objects had a strong impact. Experience with the causal task affected ratings to a greater extent when the objects were explicitly described as nonliving rather than living.

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