Talk:Belief bias

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What should we do next? 66.41.66.213 04:55, 4 July 2006 (UTC)


I'm not an experienced editor, so I don't know how to proceed. But the Belief Bias article is mistaken -- anyway the 2nd shaded argument, illustrating the bias, should either be logically valid but conclude with a statement that's implausible, or be logically invalid but conclude with a statement that's plausible. Only then will it illustrate one of the two forms the bias takes. Matthew Freytag (talk) 03:48, 12 September 2012 (UTC) Matthew Freytag

Hi Matthew! There is only one way of becoming a more experienced editor and that is to edit... :) So please be bold and change the second shaded argument into one that is correct. Lova Falk talk 06:56, 12 September 2012 (UTC)


The entire section labelled "Syllogisms Within Reasoning" (a subtitle that is rather nonsensical) is confused and incorrect. According to the last edit, the editor had this to say: "Changed animals to mammals. Insects are animals. Insects six legs, not four. The Syllogism was flawed, and is no longer." The truth value of the premise does not make the syllogism valid or invalid, only the structure can. That is part of what Belief Bias is. A valid argument, such as a valid syllogism, can appear (incorrectly) to many people to be invalid because one or more of its premises contradicts a belief of the evaluator. If a syllogism includes an untrue premise, that would make the syllogism unsound, but not invalid. If, as it seems, he is claiming that the syllogism was "flawed" because the minor premise was untrue, he actually hasn't fixed that. Humans are mammals yet have only two legs is the counterexample to the premise as it currently stands. The second shaded syllogism is described by, "this example below does not make sense and therefore is invalid and unbelievable." This is not well worded and is not how syllogisms are evaluated for validity, nor does it illustrate Belief Bias. Additionally, both of the syllogisms are labelled incorrectly. The major and minor premises are reversed for both. The major premise always contains the major term, which is the second one listed in the conclusion, while the minor term is the first term listed in the conclusion. In these cases the major premises are "All mammals have four legs" and "Some dogs are animals." Additionally, they are each labeled as "premises" which is plural. Each one should be labeled as the major or minor "premise," which is the singular. It appears that the syllogisms were supposed to be in standard form because in both cases, the premise labeled as "major premises" was listed first, followed by the minor and then the conclusion. If this was intended (which is likely), the premises should be reversed for both syllogisms. After doing so, the first syllogism is of mood AAA and figure 1, making it an unconditionally valid syllogism. The second is an IAI-1 which is not a valid form. The thing is, though, that this is nothing to do with Belief Bias. The syllogism falls prey to a formal fallacy, and Belief Bias is certainly not one of the formal fallacies. Belief Bias is properly a mistake people can make in evaluating an argument that IS valid, due to its conflict with a previously held belief. Alternatively, I suppose it could be evaluating an invalid argument as valid just because the premises fit with held beliefs. Neither of these is the illustrated by the example given. The section reads, "For example, if this syllogism is broken down it becomes," yet there was no syllogism referenced at any point prior to this in the article. Also, a syllogism is not said to be "broken down" when it is as shown; that is the way of writing a syllogism in standard form. After including the syllogism, the article continues, "Therefore, belief bias occurs when a person’s personal beliefs and knowledge do not agree with the conclusion given (Markovits, Saelen & Forgues, 2009)." This sentence simply does not follow logically from what came before. It would seem to me to be an out of context copy and paste from the sourced material. Perhaps it could be included without the "therefore" since nothing above it actually proves it; it is simply a statement of fact. There are many other problems in the way the article is written. It seems it was hastily cobbled together from some other source, but in a way that is disjointed such that in many cases one sentence does not fit coherently with the next.Wayweary (talk) 19:41, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Removed text[edit]

The following text was removed in this edit. Moved here so it can be worked on (made more accessible). The references are highly relevant.


In a series of experiments by Evans, Barston and Pollard (1983)[1] participants were presented with evaluation task paradigms, containing two premises and a conclusion . In other words, the participants were asked to make an evaluation of logical validity. The subjects, however, exhibited a belief bias, evidenced by their tendency to reject valid arguments with unbelievable conclusions, and endorse invalid arguments with believable conclusions. It seems that instead of following directions and assessing logical validity, the subjects based their assessments on personal beliefs.

Consequently, these results demonstrated a greater acceptance of more believable (80%), than unbelievable (33%) conclusions. Participants also illustrated evidence of logical competences and the results determined an increase in acceptance of n valid (73%) than invalid (41%). Additionally, there’s a small difference between believable and valid (89%) in comparison to unbelievable and invalid (56%) (Evans, Barston & Pollard, 1983; Morley, Evans & Handley, 2004).[2][3]

It has been argued that using more realistic content in syllogisms can facilitate more normative performance from participants. It has been suggested that the use of more abstract, artificial content will also have a biasing effect on performance. Therefore, more research is required to understand fully how and why belief bias occurs and if there are certain mechanisms that are responsible for such things. [citation needed]. There is also evidence of clear individual differences in normative responding that are predicted by the response times of participants [4]

  1. ^ Evans, J. St. B. T.; Barston, J. L. & Pollard, P. (1983). "On the conflict between logic and belief in syllogistic reasoning". Memory and Cognition 11 (3): 285–306. doi:10.3758/BF03196976. 
  2. ^ Evans, J. St. B.T.; Barston, J.L.; Pollard, P. (1983). "On the conflict between logic and belief in syllogistic reasoning". Memory and Cognition 11: 295–306. 
  3. ^ Morely, N. J.; Evans, J. St. B. T., & Handley, S. J. (2004). "Belief bias & figural bias in syllogistic reasoning". The Quartely Journal of Experimental Psychology 57A (4): 666–692. doi:10.1080/02724980343000440. 
  4. ^ Stupple, E.J.N.; L. J. Ball, J. St. B. T. Evans & E. Kamal-Smith (2011). "When logic and belief collide: Individual differences in reasoning times support a selective processing model". Journal of Cognitive Psychology 23 (8): 931–941. doi:10.1080/20445911.2011.589381. 

(end of copied text) MartinPoulter (talk) 14:10, 7 September 2013 (UTC)