Pick your verbs with care when you formulate a question!

Christianne J. De Poot, Gün R. Semin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Two studies examining how the use of action or state verbs in question formulation influences the locus of causal origin in answers are reported. The first study identifies a number of methodological problems for the selection of action and state verbs in the formulation of semantically symmetrical questions. This study shows a semantic asymmetry between action and state verbs. The second study finds support for the hypothesis that questions formulated with action verbs cue the logical subject of the question sentence as the causal origin for answers and that those formulated with state verbs cue the logical object Additionally, the influence that the actor-observer perspective has on the explanation of social events is shown to be modified by the type of verb used in the formulation of questions. The implications of thesefindings fora number of basic and applied settings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-368
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Language and Social Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes


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