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(I Think) I Know Why You Did That: The Risky Business of Inferring Intentions
Detert, James R.; Taubenfeld, Britton Technical Note OB-1348 / Published January 27, 2021 / 8 pages.
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Despite the important role that assumptions about intentions play in our judgments of others' actions and how we respond to these actions, most of us haven't thought much about the accuracy of the inferences we make, the ways our decisions about "what he meant to do" or "why she did that" might be unintentionally biased, or the potential negative effects that result when inferences about intentions affect how we judge a behavior. Nor have we thought about steps we might take to question or correct our initial inferences, or whether we should aim to set aside inferences altogether in judging and determining the consequences of a behavior. The goal of this note is to help you think about exactly these things.


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  • Overview

    Despite the important role that assumptions about intentions play in our judgments of others' actions and how we respond to these actions, most of us haven't thought much about the accuracy of the inferences we make, the ways our decisions about "what he meant to do" or "why she did that" might be unintentionally biased, or the potential negative effects that result when inferences about intentions affect how we judge a behavior. Nor have we thought about steps we might take to question or correct our initial inferences, or whether we should aim to set aside inferences altogether in judging and determining the consequences of a behavior. The goal of this note is to help you think about exactly these things.

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