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People judge others' harmful effects to be more intentional than their helpful effects (Knobe, 2003). The present work shows that two separate biases produce this side-effect effect: relative to morally neutral side effects, people judge immoral side effects to be more intended and morally good side effects to be unintended (Study 1). Past work on the intentionality of side effects has assumed the former bias, and not the latter bias, produces the side-effect effect. Existing theories explaining the side-effect effect would predict that only foreseen side effects could affect intention judgments. In Study 2, however, both expectations and the actual effects on the environment influenced judgments of intention. Harmful effects on the environment were judged as more intended than helpful effects, even when the CEO only foresaw helpful consequences of running the program.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Psychology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Roy F. Baumeister, Professor Directing Thesis; Colleen Kelley, Committee Member; Jon Maner, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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