"A theory of wondering why"

Attribution theory is a subdomain of social psychology that looks at how people explain social behavior. It's quite interesting and I had to deal with it in my PhD research but it might be pertinent to look at how it can be applied to nonhumans (i.e. objects). Let's look for instance at the "theory of wondering why". I am quoting Bertram Malle and Joshua Knobe (this paper):

"We propose that at least three conditions must be satisfied for people to wonder why an event occurred:

Awareness. For people to wonder why an event occurred, they must first be aware of the event (i.e., notice, observe, or think about it). Lack of awareness can be due either to limited epistemic access (e.g., people rarely know the thoughts and feelings of others) or to limited attention (e.g., people rarely pay attention to their own gestures).

Nonunderstanding. Once people are aware of an event, they wonder why it occurred only if they think that they do not already have an explanation. They must be in a state of nonunderstanding (also referred to as a "knowledge gap". Note that the condition of nonunderstanding is a subjective one--for people to wonder why, they must believe they lack an explanation (even if in fact they do have one). Likewise, if people believe they have an explanation (even if in fact they do not), they will not wonder why.

Relevance. Once people are aware of an event and think they do not understand why it occurred, they may or may not care about their own lack of understanding. They will care about it, and be motivated to wonder why, if their state of nonunderstanding challenges a current or enduring goal, in particular the need for control and prediction, for self- integrity, or for conceptual coherence."

Why do I blog this? gathering thoughts about how people project meaning on artifacts and interactions.