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Published in: Argumentation 1/2019

10-11-2018

Objective Evaluation of Demonstrative Arguments

Authors: Emmanuel Trouche, Jing Shao, Hugo Mercier

Published in: Argumentation | Issue 1/2019

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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.
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Footnotes
1
Each time we analyze median splits, we have a choice to put the participants whose answer falls on the median in either category. We always report the results that are the less favorable to our hypotheses.
 
2
Although transfer problems were included in all the present experiments, in order not to burden the result section, the results from the transfer problems will be discussed when they are most relevant, namely in a section following Experiment 4 that discusses two possible interpretation of the results. All the data are available in the ESM.
 
3
To check whether our non-significant differences in acceptance rates were due to a lack of statistical power, we conducted post hoc power analyses with power (1 − β) set at 0.80 and α = .05.
 
4
In this and all subsequent analysis, we excluded the very few participants who neither kept their initial wrong answer nor accepted the correct answer (there were never more than two such participants in each condition) (see ESM for the exact numbers).
 
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Metadata
Title
Objective Evaluation of Demonstrative Arguments
Authors
Emmanuel Trouche
Jing Shao
Hugo Mercier
Publication date
10-11-2018
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Published in
Argumentation / Issue 1/2019
Print ISSN: 0920-427X
Electronic ISSN: 1572-8374
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10503-018-9472-z

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