Explanations can help resolve conflicts in information (Khemlani, 2018). Some explanations are non-causal in nature, but the vast majority of contemporary research into explanatory reasoning concerns causal explanations. For instance, a causal explanation for why, e.g., Ria was late to a meeting is that his car broke down. Previous studies show that people spontaneously generate causal explanations when they detect that a set of premises is inconsistent (Khemlani & Johnson-Laird, 2011). In a prior study, we tested whether people spontaneously produce non-causal, temporal explanations when provided with an inconsistent set of premises. Temporal explanations are explanations that appeal to events and their relations to one another in time. A temporal explanation for why Ria was late to work would be, e.g., that the meeting was rescheduled -- and so Ria was not, in fact, late. The explanation appeals to temporal, not causal relations, to resolve conflicts.
In this experiment we present three options for resolving a conflict: an explanation as described above, a refutation (directly saying some of the given information is not true), and 'Nothing follows from the given information.'