Synthese:1-24 (2021)

Authors
Alexander Gebharter
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Abstract
Psychological studies show that the beliefs of two agents in a hypothesis can diverge even if both agents receive the same evidence. This phenomenon of belief polarisation is often explained by invoking biased assimilation of evidence, where the agents’ prior views about the hypothesis affect the way they process the evidence. We suggest, using a Bayesian model, that even if such influence is excluded, belief polarisation can still arise by another mechanism. This alternative mechanism involves differential weighting of the evidence arising when agents have different initial views about the reliability of their sources of evidence. We provide a systematic exploration of the conditions for belief polarisation in Bayesian models which incorporate opinions about source reliability, and we discuss some implications of our findings for the psychological literature.
Keywords belief polarisation  evidence  Bayesian models  reliability
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-021-03244-y
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References found in this work BETA

Grounding in the Image of Causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):49-100.
Causality.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Bayesian Epistemology.Luc Bovens & Stephan Hartmann - 2003 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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