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Objective Evaluation of Demonstrative Arguments

  • Emmanuel Trouche
  • Jing Shao
  • Hugo Mercier
Article
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Abstract

Many experiments suggest that participants are more critical of arguments that challenge their views or that come from untrustworthy sources. However, other results suggest that this might not be true of demonstrative arguments. A series of four experiments tested whether people are influenced by two factors when they evaluate demonstrative arguments: how confident they are in the answer being challenged by the argument, and how much they trust the source of the argument. Participants were not affected by their confidence in the answer challenged by the argument. By contrast, they were sometimes affected by their trust in the argument’s source. Analyses of reaction times and transfer problems suggest that source trustworthiness did not directly affect argument evaluation, but affected instead the number of times the participants considered the arguments. Our results thus suggest that people can evaluate demonstrative arguments objectively. In conclusion, we defend the hypothesis that people might also be able to evaluate non-demonstrative arguments objectively. These results support the predictions of the argumentative theory of reasoning.

Keywords

Argument evaluation Demonstrative arguments Prior beliefs Trust Bias 

Supplementary material

10503_2018_9472_MOESM1_ESM.docx (271 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 271 kb)
10503_2018_9472_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (214 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 214 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRS, Laboratoire LangageCerveau et CognitionBronFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire Cognitions Humaine et ArtificielleEPHE & Université Paris 8ParisFrance
  3. 3.Université de Haute-AlsaceMulhouseFrance
  4. 4.Institut Jean Nicod, Département d’études cognitives, ENS, EHESSPSL University, CNRSParisFrance

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