Utility templates for the interpretation of conditional statements

Article English OPEN
Bonnefon, Jean-François ; Haigh, Matthew ; Stewart, Andrew (2013)

People often use conditional statements to describe configurations of agents, actions and valued consequences. In this paper we propose the existence of utility templates, a special subset of these configurations that exert strong constraints on how people interpret conditionals. We conducted an initial completion survey which identified four potential utility templates. Four experiments then examined characteristic effects of these templates: When a described novel situation is close enough to a pre-existing template, people interpret ambiguous information associated with that situation or reinterpret current information in such a way that their understanding of the novel situation fits the template. A process explanation of these effects is considered which allows for the principled generation of other templates, and offers a possible reformulation of the findings within the framework of relevance theory.
  • References (21)
    21 references, page 1 of 3

    Amgoud, L., Bonnefon, J. F., & Prade, H. (2007). The logical handling of threats, rewards, tips, and warnings. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, 4724, 235-246.

    Bonnefon, J. F. (2009). A theory of utility conditionals: Paralogical reasoning from decision-theoretic leakage. Psychological Review, 116, 888-907.

    Bonnefon, J. F. (2012). Utility conditionals as consequential arguments: A random sampling experiment. Thinking and Reasoning, 18, 379-393.

    Bonnefon, J. F., Girotto, V., & Legrenzi, P. (2012). The psychology of reasoning about preferences and unconsequential decisions. Synthese, 187 , 27-41.

    Bonnefon, J. F., & Hilton, D. J. (2004). Consequential conditionals: Invited and suppressed inferences from valued outcomes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 30, 28-37.

    Cheng, P. W., & Holyoak, K. J. (1985). Pragmatic reasoning schemas. Cognitive Psychology, 17 , 391-416.

    Corner, A., Hahn, U., & Oaksford, M. (2011). The psychological mechanism of the slippery slope argument. Journal of Memory and Language, 64, 153-170.

    Cosmides, L., Barrett, H. C., & Tooby, J. (2010). Adaptive specializations, social exchange, and the evolution of human intelligence. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the USA, 107 , 9007-9014.

    Evans, J. S. B. T. (2005). The social and communicative function of conditional statements. Mind & Society, 4, 97-113.

    Evans, J. S. B. T., Neilens, H., Handley, S. J., & Over, D. E. (2008). When can we say 'if'? Cognition, 108, 100-116.

  • Metrics
    views in OpenAIRE
    views in local repository
    downloads in local repository

    The information is available from the following content providers:

    From Number Of Views Number Of Downloads
    Northumbria Research Link - IRUS-UK 0 128
Share - Bookmark