The Selective Laziness of Reasoning

Cognitive Science, Forthcoming

15 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2015

See all articles by Emmanuel Trouche

Emmanuel Trouche

University of Lyon 1 - Laboratoire Sur Le Langage, Le Cerveau Et La Cognition (L2C2)

Petter Johansson

Lund University - Cognitive Science

Lars Hall

Lund University - Cognitive Science

Hugo Mercier

University of Neuchatel

Date Written: October 15, 2015

Abstract

Reasoning research suggests that people use more stringent criteria when they evaluate other’s arguments than when they produce arguments themselves. To demonstrate this ‘selective laziness,’ we used a choice blindness manipulation. In two experiments, participants had to produce a series of arguments in answer to reasoning problems, and they were then asked to evaluate other people’s arguments about the same problems. Unknown to the participants, in one of the trials, they were presented with their own argument as if it was someone else’s. Among those participants who accepted the manipulation and thus thought they were evaluating someone else’s argument, more than half (56% and 58%) rejected the arguments that were in fact their own. Moreover, participants were more likely to reject their own arguments for invalid than for valid answers. This demonstrates that people are more critical of other people’s arguments than of their own, without being overly critical: they are better able to tell valid from invalid arguments when the arguments are someone else’s than their own.

Keywords: Reasoning; argumentation; choice blindness; belief bias.

Suggested Citation

Trouche, Emmanuel and Johansson, Petter and Hall, Lars and Mercier, Hugo, The Selective Laziness of Reasoning (October 15, 2015). Cognitive Science, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2674556

Emmanuel Trouche

University of Lyon 1 - Laboratoire Sur Le Langage, Le Cerveau Et La Cognition (L2C2) ( email )

67, Bd Pinel
Bron, 69675
France

Petter Johansson

Lund University - Cognitive Science ( email )

Lund
Sweden

Lars Hall

Lund University - Cognitive Science ( email )

Lund
Sweden

Hugo Mercier (Contact Author)

University of Neuchatel ( email )

Espace Louis Agassiz 1
Neuchâtel, 2000
Switzerland

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