chapter  6
Accountability Theory: Mixing Properties of Human Agents With Properties of Social Systems
WithPhilip E. Tetlock
Pages 22

This chapter explores the two levels of analysis that are only occasionally brought together: experimental work on judgment and choice and institutional analyses of accountability and power relationships. It summarizes findings that should shake the faith of cognitivists that they can safely ignore social context and the faith of institutionalists that they can safely ignore the cognitive and emotional complexities of human agency. The goal is to reproduce the spectacular successes of the physical sciences by studying the workings of the human mind in pure form in settings that minimize the distortions of social context. Accountability is a ubiquitous feature of judgment and choice outside the psychological laboratory. Evidence for an intrinsic motivation comes from studies that point to a propensity-that appears early in human development-to respond automatically and viscerally to frowns, angry looks, and other signs of censure. Exercising the voice option could be seen as legitimate protest and justified assertiveness or as whiny and self-serving.