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    Conditionals and Testimony

    Collins, P.J. and Krzyzanowska, K. and Hartmann, S. and Wheeler, G. and Hahn, Ulrike (2020) Conditionals and Testimony. Cognitive Psychology 122 (101329), ISSN 0010-0285.

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    Conditionals and conditional reasoning have been a long-standing focus of research across a number of disciplines, ranging from psychology through linguistics to philosophy. But almost no work has concerned itself with the question of how hearing or reading a conditional changes our beliefs. Given that we acquire much—perhaps most—of what we believe through the testimony of others, the simple matter of acquiring conditionals via others’ assertion of a conditional seems integral to any full understanding of the conditional and conditional reasoning. In this paper we detail a number of basic intuitions about how beliefs might change in response to a conditional being uttered, and show how these are backed by behavioral data. In the remainder of the paper, we then show how these deceptively simple phenomena pose a fundamental challenge to present theoretical accounts of the conditional and conditional reasoning – a challenge which no account presently fully meets.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Cognition, Computation and Modelling, Centre for
    Depositing User: Ulrike Hahn
    Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2020 10:42
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:04


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