An Empirical Examination of Barrett’s Intuitive Expectation Sets


We carried out two category norming studies (repeating MacRae 2005) to empirically examine Barrett’s (2008) notion of intuitive expectation sets as a coherent set of categorical expectations that are strongly correlated with each other. The studies validate some aspects of Barrett’s handcrafted list of intuitive sets and suggest removal as well as addition of some properties. The revised table of intuitive expectation sets is presented below: Solid Objects (a) are hard, rigid, and firm (b) are heavy (c) have a mass (d) are tangible (e) are visible Living Things (a) breathe (b) eat food (c) reproduce (d) move (e) grow (f) vulnerable to injury & death Animals (a) have limbs (b) have blood & heart (c) have a mind (d) have a mind (e) have emotions Mental Beings (a) think (b) are human (c) are animals (d) are intelligent (e) perceive (f) self-aware (g) talk to others (h) understand language.

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