An experimental study on the observation of facts in explanation reconstruction


In this study, we conducted experiments to examine the factors that facilitate shifts in explanations using short story in which participants were required an explanation reconstruction. In the experiment, we controlled the time of presentation of a key fact that contradicts an initial explanation and has a central role in its reconstruction (bottom-up condition), reflective thinking (top-down condition), and the two together (bidirectional condition). The results are summarized as follows. First, when the prior explanation was rejected, attention to the key fact was inhibited although a new explanation was required. Second, the successful group increased their attention on the key fact just before the explanatory shift. Third, protection of the preceding explanation with unobserved facts was inhibited by guiding the participants’ attention toward the key fact. Finally, although the initial explanation was not completely shifted, a quasiexplanatory shift was achieved by activating reflective thinking with attention to the key fact.

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