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  1. Hugo Mercier (2014). Introduction: Psychology and Culture. Topoi 33 (2):437-441.
    Although there might seem to be a natural continuity and interplay between the cognitive sciences and the social sciences, the integration of the two has, on the whole, been fraught with difficulties. In some areas the transition was relatively smooth. For instance, political psychology is now a well-recognized branch both of psychology and of political science. In economics, things have been more difficult, with the entrenched assumption of a perfectly rational homo economicus, but behavioral economics is now well recognized, and (...)
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  2. Cristina Bicchieri & Hugo Mercier (2013). Self-Serving Biases and Public Justifications in Trust Games. Synthese 190 (5):909-922.
    Often, when several norms are present and may be in conflict, individuals will display a self-serving bias, privileging the norm that best serves their interests. Xiao and Bicchieri (J Econ Psychol 31(3):456–470, 2010) tested the effects of inequality on reciprocating behavior in trust games and showed that—when inequality increases—reciprocity loses its appeal. They hypothesized that self-serving biases in choosing to privilege a particular social norm occur when the choice of that norm is publicly justifiable as reasonable, even if not optimal (...)
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  3. Frédérique De Vignemont & Hugo Mercier, Under Influence.
    In many circumstances we tend to assume that other people believe or desire what we ourselves believe or desire. This has been labeled 'egocentric bias.' This is not to say that we systematically fail to understand other people and forget that they can have a different perspective. If it were the case, then it would be highly difficult, if not impossible, to communicate, cooperate or compete with them. In those situations, we need to take the other person's perspective and to (...)
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  4. Hugo Mercier (2013). Our Pigheaded Core: How We Became Smarter to Be Influenced by Other People. In Kim Sterelny, Richard Joyce, Brett Calcott & Ben Fraser (eds.), Cooperation and its Evolution. MIT Press. 373.
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  5. Hugo Mercier (2013). The Function of Reasoning: Argumentative and Pragmatic Alternatives. Thinking and Reasoning 19 (3-4):488-494.
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  6. Hugo Mercier & Christophe Heintz (2013). Scientists' Argumentative Reasoning. Topoi:1-12.
    Reasoning, defined as the production and evaluation of reasons, is a central process in science. The dominant view of reasoning, both in the psychology of reasoning and in the psychology of science, is of a mechanism with an asocial function: bettering the beliefs of the lone reasoner. Many observations, however, are difficult to reconcile with this view of reasoning; in particular, reasoning systematically searches for reasons that support the reasoner’s initial beliefs, and it only evaluates these reasons cursorily. By contrast, (...)
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  7. Hugo Mercier (2012). Looking for Arguments. Argumentation 26 (3):305-324.
    Abstract How do people find arguments while engaged in a discussion? Following an analogy with visual search, a mechanism that performs this task is described. It is a metarepresentational device that examines representations in a mostly serial manner until it finds a good enough argument supporting one’s position. It is argued that the mechanism described in dual process theories as ‘system 2’, or analytic reasoning fulfills these requirements. This provides support for the hypothesis that reasoning serves an argumentative function. Content (...)
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  8. Hugo Mercier (2012). Some Clarifications About the Argumentative Theory of Reasoning. A Reply to Santibáñez Yañez (2012). Informal Logic 32 (2):259-268.
    In “Mercier and Sperber’s Argumentative Theory of Reasoning: From Psychology of Reasoning to Argumentation Studies” (2012) Santibáñez Yañez offers constructive comments and criticisms of the argumentative theory of reasoning. The purpose of this reply is twofold. First, it seeks to clarify two points broached by Yanez: (1) the relation between reasoning (in this specific theory) and dual process accounts in general and (2) the benefits that can be derived from reasoning and argumentation (again, in this specific theory). Second, it suggests (...)
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  9. Hugo Mercier (2012). The Social Functions of Explicit Coherence Evaluation. Mind and Society 11 (1):81-92.
    Coherence plays an important role in psychology. In this article, I suggest that coherence takes two main forms in humans’ cognitive system. The first belong to ‘system 1’. It relies on the degree of coherence between different representations to regulate them, without coherence being represented. By contrast other mechanisms, belonging to system 2, allow humans to represent the degree of coherence between different representations and to draw inferences from it. It is suggested that the mechanisms of explicit coherence evaluation have (...)
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  10. Hugo Mercier & Brent Strickland (2012). Evaluating Arguments From the Reaction of the Audience. Thinking and Reasoning 18 (3):365 - 378.
    In studying how lay people evaluate arguments, psychologists have typically focused on logical form and content. This emphasis has masked an important yet underappreciated aspect of everyday argument evaluation: social cues to argument strength. Here we focus on the ways in which observers evaluate arguments by the reaction they evoke in an audience. This type of evaluation is likely to occur either when people are not privy to the content of the arguments or when they are not expert enough to (...)
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  11. Hugo Mercier (2011). Self-Deception: Adaptation or by-Product? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (1):35-35.
    By systematically biasing our beliefs, self-deception can endanger our ability to successfully convey our messages. It can also lead lies to degenerate into more severe damages in relationships. Accordingly, I suggest that the biases reviewed in the target article do not aim at self-deception but instead are the by-products of several other mechanisms: our natural tendency to self-enhance, the confirmation bias inherent in reasoning, and the lack of access to our unconscious minds.
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  12. Hugo Mercier (2011). When Experts Argue: Explaining the Best and the Worst of Reasoning. [REVIEW] Argumentation 25 (3):313-327.
    Expert reasoning is responsible for some of the most stunning human achievements, but also for some of the most disastrous decisions ever made. The argumentative theory of reasoning has proven very effective at explaining the pattern of reasoning’s successes and failures. In the present article, it is expanded to account for expert reasoning. The argumentative theory predicts that reasoning should display a strong confirmation bias. If argument quality is not sufficiently high in a domain, the confirmation bias will make experts (...)
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  13. Hugo Mercier (2011). What Good is Moral Reasoning? Mind and Society 10 (2):131-148.
    The role of reasoning in our moral lives has been increasingly called into question by moral psychology. Not only are intuitions guiding many of our moral judgments and decisions, with reasoning only finding post-hoc rationalizations, but reasoning can sometimes play a negative role, by finding excuses for our moral violations. The observations fit well with the argumentative theory of reasoning (Mercier H, Sperber D, Behav Brain Sci, in press-b), which claims that reasoning evolved to find and evaluate arguments in dialogic (...)
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  14. Hugo Mercier & Guy Politzer (2011). Solving Categorical Syllogisms with Singular Premises. Thinking and Reasoning 14 (4):434-454.
    We elaborate on the approach to syllogistic reasoning based on “case identification” (Stenning & Oberlander, 1995; Stenning & Yule, 1997). It is shown that this can be viewed as the formalisation of a method of proof that dates back to Aristotle, namely proof by exposition ( ecthesis ), and that there are traces of this method in the strategies described by a number of psychologists, from St rring (1908) to the present day. We hypothesised that by rendering individual cases explicit (...)
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  15. Hugo Mercier & Dan Sperber (2011). Argumentation: Its Adaptiveness and Efficacy. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (2):94-111.
    Having defended the usefulness of our definition of reasoning, we stress that reasoning is not only for convincing but also for evaluating arguments, and that as such it has an epistemic function. We defend the evidence supporting the theory against several challenges: People are good informal arguers, they reason better in groups, and they have a confirmation bias. Finally, we consider possible extensions, first in terms of process-level theories of reasoning, and second in the effects of reasoning outside the lab.
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  16. Hugo Mercier (2010). How to Cut a Concept? Review of Doing Without Concepts by Edouard Machery. Biology and Philosophy 25 (2):269-277.
    As the title “Doing without Concepts” suggests Edouard Machery argues that psychologists should stop using the notion of concept because: (1) the only interesting generalizations about concepts can be drawn at the level of types of concepts (prototypes, exemplars and theories) and not the level of concept in general; and (2) competences such as categorization or induction can rely on these different types of concepts (there is not a one to one correspondence between type of concept and competence). I try (...)
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  17. Hugo Mercier (2010). The Social Origins of Folk Epistemology. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (4):499-514.
    Because reasoning allows us to justify our beliefs and evaluate these justifications it is central to folk epistemology. Following Sperber, and contrary to classical views, it will be argued that reasoning evolved not to complement individual cognition but as an argumentative device. This hypothesis is more consistent with the prevalence of the confirmation and disconfirmation biases. It will be suggested that these biases render the individual use of reasoning hazardous, but that when reasoning is used in its natural, argumentative, context (...)
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  18. Dan Sperber, Fabrice Clément, Christophe Heintz, Olivier Mascaro, Hugo Mercier, Gloria Origgi & Deirdre Wilson (2010). Epistemic Vigilance. Mind and Language 25 (4):359-393.
    Humans massively depend on communication with others, but this leaves them open to the risk of being accidentally or intentionally misinformed. To ensure that, despite this risk, communication remains advantageous, humans have, we claim, a suite of cognitive mechanisms for epistemic vigilance. Here we outline this claim and consider some of the ways in which epistemic vigilance works in mental and social life by surveying issues, research and theories in different domains of philosophy, linguistics, cognitive psychology and the social sciences.
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  19. Hugo Mercier & Dan Sperber (2009). Intuitive and Reflective Inferences. In Keith Frankish & Jonathan St B. T. Evans (eds.), In Two Minds: Dual Processes and Beyond. Oxford University Press. 149--170.
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  20. Guy Politzer & Hugo Mercier (2008). Solving Categorical Syllogisms with Singular Premises. Thinking and Reasoning 14 (4):434 – 454.
    We elaborate on the approach to syllogistic reasoning based on “case identification” (Stenning & Oberlander, 1995; Stenning & Yule, 1997). It is shown that this can be viewed as the formalisation of a method of proof that dates back to Aristotle, namely proof by exposition ( ecthesis ), and that there are traces of this method in the strategies described by a number of psychologists, from St rring (1908) to the present day. We hypothesised that by rendering individual cases explicit (...)
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  21. Hugo Viciana & Hugo Mercier, Assessing ''Folk Engineering'': Physical, Social or Cultural Core Knowledge?
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