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Table 1 Stimuli for Experiments 1–3

From: The effect of abstract versus concrete framing on judgments of biological and psychological bases of behavior

Item Text version
Concrete Abstract
1. Delusional thoughts and behaviors Jenny has developed the strong belief that the man living next door is her husband; she sometimes follows him when he is driving and she sends hate mail to his actual wife, though she has never actually met either of them in person. This disorder is characterized by delusional thoughts and behaviors; it involves coming up with strange beliefs that are contrary to fact and that persist strongly, influencing daily behaviors, despite having no evidence to support them.
2. Manic beliefs and behaviors Eric effusively talks about his dozens of highly unrealistic business ideas, which he thinks are guaranteed to make him millions of dollars; he erroneously believes that he is irresistibly attractive to much younger women and is oblivious to their rejections. This disorder is characterized by manic beliefs and behaviors; it involves holding extremely positive self-views, which are often completely unfounded in reality, and often talking excitedly about all of these beliefs, despite the fact that they are untrue.
3. Loss of pleasure Dan no longer shows interest in most activities, no longer taking pleasure in golfing or long country drives, even though these used to be some of his very favorite weekend activities. This disorder is characterized by loss of pleasure; it involves feeling a substantially diminished interest in most activities, including activities found enjoyable in the past.
4. Repetitive, compulsive behaviors Sarah locks each of her windows three times whenever she leaves her house in order to prevent a burglary, she uses a new bar of soap every time she washes her hands, and she runs a virus scan on her computer every hour, even when her computer is disconnected from the Internet. This disorder is characterized by repetitive behaviors; it involves feeling compelled to repeatedly engage in behaviors aimed at preventing some dreaded event, even though these behaviors are not a realistic means for preventing what they are intended to prevent.
5. Feelings of worthlessness/guilt Chris believes that he is incompetent at his job, despite excellent performance evaluations, and blames himself for his company’s recent financial losses that were actually caused by uncontrollable circumstances; when a busy co-worker passes by him without engaging in a lengthy conversation, he thinks it is because he is inherently unlikeable. This disorder is characterized by feelings of worthlessness, with unrealistically negative self-evaluations; it involves an exaggerated sense of guilt and personal responsibility for negative occurrences and interpreting neutral, day-to-day events as evidence of personal defects, even though these occurrences are not realistic reflections of poor character.
6. Recurrent nightmares Mike has nightmares almost every night; he often dreams that he is a passenger on an airplane that is out of control and about to crash, or that he has been kidnapped by a serial killer who is planning to torture him. This disorder is characterized by frequent nightmares; it involves having terrifying dreams more nights than not, which often portray threats to physical safety and may involve life-threatening situations.