«Dog ownership, like cocaine use, can be seen as an economic indicator. Higher incomes mean people can actually afford to have pets—not to mention feed them pricey kibbles, send them to groomers and kennels, buy them toys, and flaunt them in dog shows.»
People find it helpful to engage in counterfactual thinking when considering complex causal scenarios. In order to arrive at a causal judgement like “A causes B” the reasoner must engage in the following counterfactual conditional: “if A did not occur, B would not occur”. In the case of an exceptional outcome, a car accident, let’s say, people construct causal explanations and competing counterfactual scenarios. This is because an unexpected outcome indicates a violation of their understanding of the usual causal relationships. So, they tend to focus on exceptional antecedents to explain the exceptional outcome.