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Much work in psycholinguistics and social psychology has investigated the notion of implicit causality associated with verbs. Crinean and Garnham (2006) relate implicit causality to another phenomenon, implicit consequentiality. We argue that they and other researchers have confused the meanings of events and the reasons for those events, so that particular thematic roles (e.g., Agent, Patient) are taken to be causes or consequences of those events by definition. In accord with Garvey and Caramazza (1974), we propose that implicit causality and consequentiality are probabilistic notions that are straightforwardly related to the explicit causes and consequences of events and are analogous to other biases investigated in psycholinguistics.

Original publication




Journal article


Language and Cognitive Processes

Publication Date





780 - 788