2008 年 6 巻 1 号 p. 1_35-1_41
The present study examined how people explain actions performed by groups and individual members. The study specifically tested whether the presence of an executive function in groups to make decisions would affect the contents of behavior explanations. Undergraduate students (n = 70) read a scenario which described a wrong-doing either by a group member or by the entire group. We hypothesized that an undesirable act by a group with an executive function would be likely to elicit explanations based on "reasons" (e.g, intentions, beliefs and desires), whereas an act by a group without such a function would be explained by background factors called "causal history of reason" (e.g., group traits, situational factors). To analyze open-ended "why" explanations for the incident, we developed a coding scheme, which was the first attempt to be used for responses in Japanese. The results demonstrated the construct validity of the coding system. More important, content analyses indicated that our predictions were supported concerning types of explanations for acts by a group. As for explanations for individuals' acts, however, an unexpected pattern was found. Even an act by an individual member was more likely to generate reason-based explanations as long as the group was equipped with an executive function. Characteristics of behavioral explanations that are potentially unique to group actors and potential influence of cultural bases for group perception are discussed.