Hammer & Ruscher (1997) Hammer, E. D., & Ruscher, J. B. (1997). Conversing dyads explain the unexpected: Narrative and situational explanations for unexpected outcomes British Journal of Social Psychology, 36, 347-360.

Examined how dispositionally unexpected outcomes elicit situational and narrative causal explanations during conversation. Having formed target-based impressions of a target, dyads later learned that the target experienced an outcome that was expected or unexpected with respect to their impressions. Dyads faced with unexpected outcomes spent more time discussing potential situational factors, constructed more narrative explanations, invoked more original explanations, built more upon each other's explanations, and asked each other more questions than dyads faced with expected outcomes. For example, dyads explaining why an apparently good student dropped out of school together developed stories (i.e., narratives) that relied heavily on situational factors (e.g., a death in the family; drug use). The latter two results suggest that these processes of causal explanation were intersubjective and thus appropriately considered at the level of the dyad.

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