BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    The effect of source claims on statement believability and speaker accountability

    Mahr, J.B. and Csibra, Gergely (2021) The effect of source claims on statement believability and speaker accountability. Memory & Cognition , ISSN 0090-502X. (In Press)

    Mahr-Csibra2021_Article_TheEffectOfSourceClaimsOnState.pdf - Published Version of Record
    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

    Download (2MB) | Preview


    What is the effect of source claims (such as “I saw it” or “Somebody told me”) on the believability of statements, and what mechanisms are responsible for this effect? In this study, we tested the idea that source claims impact statement believability by modulating the extent to which a speaker is perceived to be committed to (and thereby accountable for) the truth of her assertion. Across three experiments, we presented participants with statements associated with different source claims, asked them to judge how much they believed the statements, and how much the speaker was responsible if the statement turned out to be false. We found that (1) statement believability predicted speaker accountability independently of a statement’s perceived prior likelihood or associated source claim; (2) being associated with a claim to first-hand (“I saw that . . .”) or second-hand (“Somebody told me that . . .”) evidence strengthened this association; (3) bare assertions about specific circumstances were commonly interpreted as claims to first-hand evidence; and (4) (everything else being equal) claims to first-hand evidence increased while claims to second-hand evidence decreased both statement believability and speaker accountability. These results support the idea that the believability of a statement is closely related to how committed to its truth the speaker is perceived to be and that source claims modulate the extent of this perceived commitment.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Source claims, Evidentials, Speaker commitment, Statement believability
    School: School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Gergo Csibra
    Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2021 15:46
    Last Modified: 08 Oct 2021 06:02


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item