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Psychol Rev. 2000 Oct;107(4):852-84.

On belief bias in syllogistic reasoning.

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Psychologisches Institut, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universit├Ąt Bonn, Germany.


A multinomial model is used to disentangle the respective contributions of reasoning processes and response bias in conclusion-acceptance data that exhibit belief bias. A model-based meta-analysis of 22 studies reveals that such data are structurally too sparse to allow discrimination of different accounts of belief bias. Four experiments are conducted to obtain richer data, allowing deeper tests through the use of the multinomial model. None of the current accounts of belief bias is consistent with the complex pattern of results. A new theory of belief bias is proposed that assumes that most reasoners construct only one mental model representing the premises as well as the conclusion or, in the case of an unbelievable conclusion, its logical negation. New predictions derived from the theory are confirmed in 4 additional studies.

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