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Concept: Intention


Philosophers and legal scholars have long theorized about how intentionality serves as a critical input for morality and culpability, but the emerging field of experimental philosophy has revealed a puzzling asymmetry. People judge actions leading to negative consequences as being more intentional than those leading to positive ones. The implications of this asymmetry remain unclear because there is no consensus regarding the underlying mechanism. Based on converging behavioral and neural evidence, we demonstrate that there is no single underlying mechanism. Instead, two distinct mechanisms together generate the asymmetry. Emotion drives ascriptions of intentionality for negative consequences, while the consideration of statistical norms leads to the denial of intentionality for positive consequences. We employ this novel two-mechanism model to illustrate that morality can paradoxically shape judgments of intentionality. This is consequential for mens rea in legal practice and arguments in moral philosophy pertaining to terror bombing, abortion, and euthanasia among others.

Concepts: Psychology, Sociology, Law, Intentionality, Philosophy, Ethics, Morality, Intention


Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to investigate the ability of commercial patient quality assurance (QA) systems to detect linear accelerator-related errors.Methods: Four measuring systems (Delta4®, OCTAVIUS®, COMPASS, and Epiqa™) designed for patient specific quality assurance for rotational radiation therapy were compared by measuring four clinical rotational intensity modulated radiation therapy plans as well as plans with introduced intentional errors. The intentional errors included increasing the number of monitor units, widening of the MLC banks, and rotation of the collimator. The measurements were analyzed using the inherent gamma evaluation with 2% and 2 mm criteria and 3% and 3 mm criteria. When applicable, the plans with intentional errors were compared with the original plans both by 3D gamma evaluation and by inspecting the dose volume histograms produced by the systems.Results: There was considerable variation in the type of errors that the various systems detected; the failure rate for the plans with errors varied between 0% and 72%. When using 2% and 2 mm criteria and 95% as a pass rate the Delta4® detected 15 of 20 errors, OCTAVIUS® detected 8 of 20 errors, COMPASS detected 8 of 20 errors, and Epiqa™ detected 20 of 20 errors. It was also found that the calibration and measuring procedure could benefit from improvements for some of the patient QA systems.Conclusions: The various systems can detect various errors and the sensitivity to the introduced errors depends on the plan. There was poor correlation between the gamma evaluation pass rates of the QA procedures and the deviations observed in the dose volume histograms.

Concepts: Medicine, Ionizing radiation, Measurement, Quality, Management, Quality assurance, Systems of measurement, Intention


To decrease the prevalence and the amount of alcohol consumption among students, health messages advocating responsible alcohol behavior can be used. However, it is unclear whether responsible drinking messages are most effective when they use a gain frame, presenting the advantages of responsible drinking, or a loss frame, presenting the disadvantages of irresponsible drinking. This study tests the effects of framing and the moderating role of involvement with the issue of responsible drinking. A three-wave, between-subjects, experimental study was conducted, in which participants (N = 90) were exposed to either a gain- or loss-framed message about responsible drinking behavior at Wave 2. At all three waves, attitudes, intentions and behavior toward responsible drinking were measured. Results showed that for participants with low issue- involvement, a gain frame led to more positive attitudes and intentions toward responsible alcohol use, whereas a loss frame did not have any effects for them. For participants with high issue involvement, a loss frame led to more positive attitudes and intentions toward responsible alcohol use, whereas a gain frame did not have an effect on attitude and only a delayed effect on intention. However, there were no effects of frame and issue involvement on adhering to the guideline of responsible alcohol use and average drinking behavior.

Concepts: Effect, Effectiveness, Wave, Effects unit, Drinking culture, Intention, Message, Frame


Even after the introduction of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), uninsured visits remain high, especially in states that opted out of Medicaid expansion. Since the ACA does not provide universal coverage, free clinics serve as safety nets for the un- or under-insured, and will likely continue serving underserved populations. The purpose of this study is to examine factors influencing intentions to not apply for health insurance via the ACA among uninsured free clinic patients in a state not expanding Medicaid. Uninsured primary care patients utilizing a free clinic (N = 551) completed a self-administered survey in May and June 2015. Difficulty obtaining information, lack of instruction to apply, and cost, are major factors influencing intention not to apply for health insurance through the ACA. US born English speakers, non-US born English speakers, and Spanish speakers reported different kinds of perceived barriers to applying for health insurance through the ACA. Age is an important factor impacting individuals' intentions not to apply for health insurance through the ACA, as older patients in particular need assistance to obtain relevant information about the ACA and other resources. A number of unchangeable factors limit the free clinics' ability to promote enrollment of health insurance through the ACA. Yet free clinics could be able to provide some educational programs or the information of resources to patients. In particular, non-US born English speakers, Spanish speakers, and older adults need specific assistance to better understand health insurance options available to them.

Concepts: Health care, Health insurance, Hospital, English language, Clinic, Intention, Free clinic, Types of healthcare facilities


There is evidence that the sharing of intentions was an important factor in the evolution of humans' unique cognitive abilities. Here, for the first time, we formally model the coevolution of jointly intentional behavior and cumulative culture, showing that rapid techno-cultural advance goes hand in hand with the emergence of the ability to participate in jointly intentional behavior. Conversely, in the absence of opportunities for significant techno-cultural improvement, the ability to undertake jointly intentional behavior is selected against. Thus, we provide a unified mechanism for the suppression or emergence of shared intentions and collaborative behavior in humans, as well as a potential cause of inter-species diversity in the prevalence of such behavior.

Concepts: Psychology, Evolution, Culture, Mind, Thought, Intention, Determinism, Sociocultural evolution


It can be challenging for support providers to facilitate effective social support interactions even when they have the best intentions. In the current article, we examine some reasons for this difficulty, with a focus on support recipients' self-esteem as a crucial variable. We predicted that recipients' receptiveness to support would be influenced by both support strategy and recipient self-esteem and that receptiveness in turn would impact providers' perceived caregiving efficacy and relationship quality. Study 1 (hypothetical scenarios), Study 2 (confederate interaction), and Study 3 (reports of recently received support) showed that individuals with low self-esteem (LSEs) are less receptive than are individuals with high self-esteem (HSEs) to support that positively reframes their experience but are equally receptive to support that validates their negative feelings. In Study 4, providers demonstrated some knowledge that positive reframing would be less helpful to LSEs than to HSEs but indicated equal intention to give such support. Study 5 showed that, in a real interaction, friends were indeed equally likely to offer positive reframing to both LSEs and HSEs but were less likely to offer validation to LSEs. LSEs were less accepting of such support, and in turn providers felt worse about the interaction, about themselves, and about their friendship more broadly. Study 6 confirmed that recipients' receptivity to support directly influenced providers' experience of a support interaction as well as their self- and relationship evaluations. The findings illustrate how well-meaning support attempts that do not match recipients' particular preferences may be detrimental to both members of the dyad. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Validation, Interaction, Self-esteem, All rights reserved, Self-efficacy, Copyright, Intention, The Best Intentions


Gaps in the quality of care provided to people with type 2 diabetes are regularly identified. Healthcare professionals often have a strong intention to follow practice guidelines during consultations with people with type 2 diabetes; however, this intention does not always translate into action. Action planning (planning when, where and how to act) and coping planning (planning how to overcome pre-identified barriers) have been hypothesised to help with the enactment of intentions by creating mental cue-response links that promote habit formation. This study aimed to investigate whether habit helps to better understand how action and coping planning relate to clinical behaviour in the context of type 2 diabetes care.

Concepts: Health care, Diabetes mellitus type 2, Management, Behavior, Human behavior, Intention, Habit


The current study avoided the typical laboratory context to determine instead whether over-imitation-the disposition to copy even visibly, causally unnecessary actions-occurs in a real-world context in which participants are unaware of being in an experiment. We disguised a puzzle-box task as an interactive item available to the public within a science engagement zone of Edinburgh Zoo. As a member of the public approached, a confederate acting as a zoo visitor retrieved a reward from the box using a sequence of actions containing both causally relevant and irrelevant elements. Despite the absence of intentional demonstration, or social pressure to copy, a majority of both child and even adult observers included all causally irrelevant actions in their reproduction. This occurred even though causal irrelevance appeared manifest because of the transparency of the puzzle-box. That over-imitation occurred so readily in a naturalistic context, devoid of social interaction and pressure, suggests that humans are opportunistic social learners throughout the lifespan, copying the actions of other individuals even when these actions are not intentionally demonstrated, and their causal significance is not readily apparent. The disposition to copy comprehensively, even when a mere onlooker, likely provides humans, irrespective of their age, with a powerful mechanism to extract maximal information from the social environment.

Concepts: Causality, Participation, Sociology, Science, Experiment, Demonstration, Intention, Relevance


Primate facial expressions are widely accepted as underpinned by reflexive emotional processes and not under voluntary control. In contrast, other modes of primate communication, especially gestures, are widely accepted as underpinned by intentional, goal-driven cognitive processes. One reason for this distinction is that production of primate gestures is often sensitive to the attentional state of the recipient, a phenomenon used as one of the key behavioural criteria for identifying intentionality in signal production. The reasoning is that modifying/producing a signal when a potential recipient is looking could demonstrate that the sender intends to communicate with them. Here, we show that the production of a primate facial expression can also be sensitive to the attention of the play partner. Using the orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) Facial Action Coding System (OrangFACS), we demonstrate that facial movements are more intense and more complex when recipient attention is directed towards the sender. Therefore, production of the playface is not an automated response to play (or simply a play behaviour itself) and is instead produced flexibly depending on the context. If sensitivity to attentional stance is a good indicator of intentionality, we must also conclude that the orangutan playface is intentionally produced. However, a number of alternative, lower level interpretations for flexible production of signals in response to the attention of another are discussed. As intentionality is a key feature of human language, claims of intentional communication in related primate species are powerful drivers in language evolution debates, and thus caution in identifying intentionality is important.

Concepts: Psychology, Cognition, Language, Intentionality, Hominidae, Intention, Orangutan, Bornean Orangutan


While separate pieces of research found parents offer toddlers cues to express that they are (1) joking and (2) pretending, and that toddlers and preschoolers understand intentions to (1) joke and (2) pretend, it is not yet clear whether parents and toddlers consider joking and pretending to be distinct concepts. This is important as distinguishing these two forms of non-literal acts could open a gateway to understanding the complexities of the non-literal world, as well as the complexities of intentions in general. Two studies found parents offer explicit cues to help 16- to 24-month-olds distinguish pretending and joking. Across an action play study (n = 25) and a verbal play study (n = 40) parents showed more disbelief and less belief through their actions and language when joking versus pretending. Similarly, toddlers showed less belief through their actions, and older toddlers showed less belief through their language. Toddlers' disbelief could be accounted for by their response to parents' language and actions. Thus, these studies reveal a mechanism by which toddlers learn to distinguish joking and pretending. Parents offer explicit cues to distinguish these intentions, and toddlers use these cues to guide their own behaviors, which in turn allows toddlers to distinguish these intentional contexts.

Concepts: Understanding, Intention, Distinguish, Joke