Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Are mental states assessed relative to what most people “should” or “would” think? Prescriptive and descriptive components of expected attitudes

Tamar A. Krepsa1 and Benoît Monina1

a1 Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305.


For Knobe, observers evaluate mental states by comparing agents' statements with “defaults,” the attitudes they are expected to hold. In our analysis, Knobe's model relies primarily on what agents should think, and little on expectancies of what they would think. We show the importance and complexity of including descriptive and prescriptive norms if one is to take expectancies seriously.