Mind and Language 36 (3):333-354 (2020)

I clarify and defend the hypothesis that human belief formation is sensitive to social rewards and punishments, such that beliefs are sometimes formed based on unconscious expectations of their likely effects on other agents – agents who frequently reward us when we hold ungrounded beliefs and punish us when we hold reasonable ones. After clarifying this phenomenon and distinguishing it from other sources of bias in the psychological literature, I argue that the hypothesis is plausible on theoretical grounds and I show how it illuminates and unifies a range of psychological phenomena, including confabulation and rationalisation, positive illusions, and identity-protective cognition.
Keywords belief  bias  irrationality  motivated cognition  self‐deception  social cognition
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Reprint years 2020, 2021
DOI 10.1111/mila.12294
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References found in this work BETA

The Language of Thought.J. A. Fodor - 1978 - Critica 10 (28):140-143.
Brainstorms.Daniel Dennett - 1978 - Philosophy of Science 47 (2):326-327.
Why Do Humans Reason? Arguments for an Argumentative Theory.Dan Sperber - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (2):57.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Point of Political Belief.Michael Hannon & Jeroen de Ridder - 2021 - In Michael Hannon & Jeroen de Ridder (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology. Routledge.
Echoes of Covid Misinformation.Neil Levy - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology:1-18.
Epistemic Irrationality in the Bayesian Brain.Daniel Williams - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (4):913-938.

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