We were pleased to welcome Dr. Igor Grossmann from the University of Waterloo to give a talk at our weekly Social-Personality Colloquium Series (Brownbag). The name of his talk was "A Dual Standard Framework for Sound Judgement: The Rational and the Reasonable". Please see his lab website for more details about the research conducted in his lab.
Abstract: We show that people represent intellectual virtues through two distinct standards of judgmental competence: a standard of rationality that corresponds to economists’ definition of decontextualized rational self-interest, and a standard of reasonableness that corresponds to philosophical traditions encouraging context-specific balance of self-interest with fairness. These standards occur in common use of “rational”/”reasonable” terms in popular media, across several languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian) and in lay views on rationality and reasonableness. Both rationality and reasonableness are viewed as closely aligned with the prototype of an ideal person. Expectations for rational vs. reasonable actions vary: Reasonable persons are considered as warmer, fairer, and socially-considerate, whereas rational persons are considered as more competent, colder, and more analytic. Rational persons are expected to be more consistent in behavior across and within situations compared to reasonable persons. Reasonable persons are more likely to be subject to contextual influences (e.g., sunk cost fallacy). Further, experiments show that rationality and reasonableness lead people to different conclusions about what constitutes good judgment in dilemmas that pit self-interest against fairness: Rationality is absolute and self-maximizing, whereas reasonableness pays attention to particulars and fairness. Experimentally activating the rationality standard promotes self-serving decisions, whereas activating the reasonableness standard promotes fair decisions. The latter results occur both for college students, on-line samples of North Americans, non-Western samples of educated adults in Pakistan, street merchants, and samples primarily engaging in exchange (vs. market-) economy.