Effects of Culture and Gender on Judgments of Intent and Responsibility
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AbstractDo different cultures hold different views of intentionality? In four studies, participants read scenarios in which the actor’s distal intent (a focus on a broader goal) and proximal intent (a focus on the mechanics of the act) were manipulated. In Studies 1–2, when distal intent was more prominent in the actor’s mind, North Americans rated the actor more responsible than did Chinese and South Asian participants. When proximal intent was more prominent, Chinese and South Asian participants, if anything, rated the actor more responsible. In Studies 3–4, when distal intent was more prominent, male Americans rated the actor more responsible than did female Americans. When proximal intent was more prominent, females rated the actor more responsible. The authors discuss these findings in relation to the literatures on moral reasoning and cultural psychology.