The collapse illusion effect: A semantic-pragmatic illusion of truth and paradox

Thinking and Reasoning 12 (2):144 – 180 (2006)
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Two Experiments demonstrate the existence of a “collapse illusion”, in which reasoners evaluate Truthteller-type propositions (“I am telling the truth”) as if they were simply true, whereas Liar-type propositions (“I am lying”) tend to be evaluated as neither true nor false. The second Experiment also demonstrates an individual differences pattern, in which shallow reasoners are more susceptible to the illusion. The collapse illusion is congruent with philosophical semantic truth theories such as Kripke's (1975), and with hypothetical thinking theory's principle of satisficing, but can only be partially accounted for by the model theory principle of truth. Pragmatic effects related to sentence cohesion further reinforce hypothetical thinking theory interpretation of the data, although the illusion and cohesion data could also be accounted for within a modified mental model theory.



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