Is Negligence a first cousin to intentionality? Lay conceptions of negligence and its relationship to intentionality

Narina Nuñez, Sean Laurent, Jennifer M. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In three studies, we examined lay conceptions of negligence and how they are used when making judgments about actors' intentions, negligence, and blame. Study 1 examined the extent to which participants agreed about what constitutes negligence and accidents. After finding a high level of agreement between participants, Study 2 explored the features that defined participants' folk understanding of negligence. Additionally, we examined if definitions of negligence overlapped with key features of definitions of intentionality proposed in the literature. Study 2 suggested there were some key overlapping features and differences between negligence and intentionality. Finally, Study 3 examined how two key features of intentionality and negligence (knowledge and awareness) were related to attributions of negligence, accidental causation, blame, and desire to punish. The findings suggested that knowledge and awareness are positively related to judgments of negligence, blame, and desire to punish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-65
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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