ERIC Number: EJ1151994
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Abstractor: As Provided
Effects of Text Content and Beliefs on Informal Argument Evaluation
Wolfe, Michael B.; Williams, Todd J.
Discourse Processes: A multidisciplinary journal, v54 n5-6 p446-462 2017
We examined the influence of reading a one-sided text on informal argument evaluation. After reporting initial beliefs in a separate online prescreening, subjects with polarized beliefs read a belief-consistent or -inconsistent text about the benefits of spanking children as a means of discipline. After reading, subjects reported their beliefs and judged the soundness of a series of one-sentence informal arguments that made belief-consistent or -inconsistent claims. Subjects were more likely to accept arguments as sound when the claims were consistent with the position of the text they read and reject them as unsound when the claims were inconsistent with the text position. Process mediation modeling revealed that text position (pro vs. con) influenced reasoning biases both directly and indirectly via the extent to which they experienced belief change. These findings suggest that informal reasoning biases can be malleable and are influenced by both text content and by subjects' beliefs at the time of reasoning.
Descriptors: Persuasive Discourse, Evaluation, Reading, Beliefs, Bias, Logical Thinking, College Students, Attitude Change, Responses, Statistical Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A