Date of this Version
Judgment and Decision Making
Previous work showed that people find explanations more satisfying when they contain irrelevant neuroscience information. The current studies investigate why this effect happens. In Study 1 (N=322), subjects judged psychology explanations that did or did not contain irrelevant neuroscience information. Longer explanations were judged more satisfying, as were explanations containing neuroscience information, but these two factors made independent contributions. In Study 2 (N=255), subjects directly compared good and bad explanations. Subjects were generally successful at selecting the good explanation except when the bad explanation contained neuroscience and the good one did not. Study 3 (N=159) tested whether neuroscience jargon was necessary for the effect, or whether it would obtain with any reference to the brain. Responses to these two conditions did not differ. These results confirm that neuroscience information exerts a seductive effect on people’s judgments, which may explain the appeal of neuroscience information within the public sphere.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (cc-by).
explanation, neuroscience, reasoning, seductive allure
Weisberg, D. S., Taylor, J. C., & Hopkins, E. J. (2015). Deconstructing the Seductive Allure of Neuroscience Explanations. Judgment and Decision Making, 10 (5), 429-441. Retrieved from https://repository.upenn.edu/neuroethics_pubs/132
Date Posted: 14 July 2016
This document has been peer reviewed.