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Tracking the eye of the beholder: is explanation subjective?

Stewart, AJ; Singmann, H; Haigh, M; Wood, JS; Douven, I; (2021) Tracking the eye of the beholder: is explanation subjective? Journal of Cognitive Psychology 10.1080/20445911.2020.1870986. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

There is much recent evidence showing that explanation is central to various cognitive processes. On the other hand, philosophers have argued that the notions of explanation and explanation quality are too subjective for explanation to play any role in science: what may be an adequate explanation for one person may fail to be so for another. We compare the results of a study tasking participants with rating explanation quality with those of an eye-tracking study, finding that ratings of explanation quality from participants in the former study were strongly predictive of the ease with which participants in the latter study processed text fragments presenting the same explanations that were used in the rating study. This finding undermines the thought that explanation is only in the eye of the beholder.

Type: Article
Title: Tracking the eye of the beholder: is explanation subjective?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/20445911.2020.1870986
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/20445911.2020.1870986
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Comprehension, explanation quality, explanatory coherence, explanatory reasoning, eye tracking
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10121951
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