Everyday reasoning with inducements and advice

Thinking and Reasoning 10 (3):241 – 272 (2004)
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Abstract

In two experiments, we investigated how people interpret and reason with realistic conditionals in the form of inducements (i.e., promises and threats) and advice (i.e., tips and warnings). We found that inducements and advice differed with respect to the degree to which the speaker was perceived to have (a) control over the consequent, (b) a stake in the outcome, and (c) an obligation to ensure that the outcome occurs. Inducements and advice also differed with respect to perceived sufficiency and necessity, as well as the degree to which these statements were perceived to be effective in changing the behaviour described in the antecedent of the conditional. Multiple regression analyses indicated that perceived control over the consequent, necessity, and sufficiency emerged as the best predictors of (a) the degree to which statements were perceived to be effective in changing the behaviour of the addressee, and (b) inference patterns on a conditional arguments task.

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