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What is stupid? People's conception of unintelligent behavior

Aczel, Balazs; Palfi, Bence and Kekecs, Zoltan LU (2015) In Artificial Intelligence 53. p.51-58
Abstract

This paper argues that studying why and when people call certain actions stupid should be the interest of psychological investigations not just because it is a frequent everyday behavior, but also because it is a robust behavioral reflection of the rationalistic expectations to which people adjust their own behavior and expect others to. The relationship of intelligence and intelligent behavior has been the topic of recent debates, yet understanding why we call certain actions stupid irrespective of their cognitive abilities requires the understanding of what people mean when they call an action stupid. To study these questions empirically, we analyzed real-life examples where people called an action stupid. A collection of such stories... (More)

This paper argues that studying why and when people call certain actions stupid should be the interest of psychological investigations not just because it is a frequent everyday behavior, but also because it is a robust behavioral reflection of the rationalistic expectations to which people adjust their own behavior and expect others to. The relationship of intelligence and intelligent behavior has been the topic of recent debates, yet understanding why we call certain actions stupid irrespective of their cognitive abilities requires the understanding of what people mean when they call an action stupid. To study these questions empirically, we analyzed real-life examples where people called an action stupid. A collection of such stories was categorized by raters along a list of psychological concepts to explore what the causes are that people attribute to the stupid actions observed. We found that people use the label stupid for three separate types of situation: (1) violations of maintaining a balance between confidence and abilities; (2) failures of attention; and (3) lack of control. The level of observed stupidity was always amplified by higher responsibility being attributed to the actor and by the severity of the consequences of the action. These results bring us closer to understanding people's conception of unintelligent behavior while emphasizing the broader psychological perspectives of studying the attribute of stupid in everyday life.

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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Implicit theory of stupid action, Stupid, Unintelligent behavior
in
Artificial Intelligence
volume
53
pages
8 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:84941142631
ISSN
0160-2896
DOI
10.1016/j.intell.2015.08.010
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
b3f5d3c3-fa19-4217-a66e-b04e0a5c44e5
date added to LUP
2017-03-27 15:53:05
date last changed
2017-04-10 10:29:52
@article{b3f5d3c3-fa19-4217-a66e-b04e0a5c44e5,
  abstract     = {<p>This paper argues that studying why and when people call certain actions stupid should be the interest of psychological investigations not just because it is a frequent everyday behavior, but also because it is a robust behavioral reflection of the rationalistic expectations to which people adjust their own behavior and expect others to. The relationship of intelligence and intelligent behavior has been the topic of recent debates, yet understanding why we call certain actions stupid irrespective of their cognitive abilities requires the understanding of what people mean when they call an action stupid. To study these questions empirically, we analyzed real-life examples where people called an action stupid. A collection of such stories was categorized by raters along a list of psychological concepts to explore what the causes are that people attribute to the stupid actions observed. We found that people use the label stupid for three separate types of situation: (1) violations of maintaining a balance between confidence and abilities; (2) failures of attention; and (3) lack of control. The level of observed stupidity was always amplified by higher responsibility being attributed to the actor and by the severity of the consequences of the action. These results bring us closer to understanding people's conception of unintelligent behavior while emphasizing the broader psychological perspectives of studying the attribute of stupid in everyday life.</p>},
  author       = {Aczel, Balazs and Palfi, Bence and Kekecs, Zoltan},
  issn         = {0160-2896},
  keyword      = {Implicit theory of stupid action,Stupid,Unintelligent behavior},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {11},
  pages        = {51--58},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Artificial Intelligence},
  title        = {What is stupid? People's conception of unintelligent behavior},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2015.08.010},
  volume       = {53},
  year         = {2015},
}