Inferences from disclosures about the truth and falsity of expert testimony

Thinking and Reasoning 24 (1):41-78 (2018)
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Abstract

Participants acting as mock jurors made inferences about whether a person was a suspect in a murder based on an expert's testimony about the presence of objects at the crime scene and the disclosure that the testimony was true or false. Experiment 1 showed that participants made more correct inferences, and made inferences more quickly, when the truth or falsity of the expert's testimony was disclosed immediately after the testimony rather than when the disclosure was delayed. Experiment 2 showed no advantage for prior disclosure over immediate disclosure. Experiment 3 showed that the pattern of inferences when there was no disclosure mirrored the pattern when it was disclosed that the expert's testimony was true rather than false. Participants made more correct inferences from true conjunctions than disjunctions, and from false disjunctions than conjunctions. We discuss the implications for theories of the mental representations and cognitive processes that underlie human reasoning.

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Author's Profile

Ruth Mary Josephine Byrne
Trinity College, Dublin

References found in this work

Relevance.D. Sperber & Deirdre Wilson - 1986 - Communication and Cognition: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly Journal 2.
Mental Logic.Martin D. S. Braine & David P. O'brien - 2001 - Studia Logica 68 (2):297-299.
Experiments on Aristotle’s Thesis.Niki Pfeifer - 2012 - The Monist 95 (2):223-240.

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