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  1. The Enigma of Reason.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - unknown
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  2. Epistemic Vigilance.Dan Sperber, Fabrice Clément, Christophe Heintz, Olivier Mascaro, Hugo Mercier, Gloria Origgi & Deirdre Wilson - 2010 - 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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  3.  10
    Self-Deception: Adaptation or by-Product?Hugo Mercier - 2011 - 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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  4.  3
    On the Universality of Argumentative Reasoning.Hugo Mercier - 2011 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 11 (1-2):85-113.
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  5.  37
    Intuitive and Reflective Inferences.Hugo Mercier & Dan Sperber - 2009 - In Keith Frankish & Jonathan St B. T. Evans (eds.), In Two Minds: Dual Processes and Beyond. Oxford University Press. pp. 149--170.
    Much evidence has accumulated in favor of such a dual view of reasoning. There is however some vagueness in the way the two systems are characterized. Instead of a principled distinction, we are presented with a bundle of contrasting features - slow/fast, automatic/controlled, explicit/implicit, associationist/rule based, modular/central - that, depending on the specific dual process theory, are attributed more or less exclusively to one of the two systems. As Evans states in a recent review, “it would then be helpful to (...)
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  6.  15
    The Selective Laziness of Reasoning.Emmanuel Trouche, Petter Johansson, Lars Hall & Hugo Mercier - 2016 - Cognitive Science 40 (8):2122-2136.
    Reasoning research suggests that people use more stringent criteria when they evaluate others' arguments than when they produce arguments themselves. To demonstrate this “selective laziness,” we used a choice blindness manipulation. In two experiments, participants had to produce a series of arguments in response to reasoning problems, and they were then asked to evaluate other people's arguments about the same problems. Unknown to the participants, in one of the trials, they were presented with their own argument as if it was (...)
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  7.  4
    The Argumentative Theory: Predictions and Empirical Evidence.Hugo Mercier - 2016 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 20 (9):689-700.
  8.  3
    Contents.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press.
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  9.  1
    Arguments, More Than Confidence, Explain the Good Performance of Reasoning Groups.Emmanuel Trouche, Emmanuel Sander & Hugo Mercier - 2014 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 143 (5):1958-1971.
  10.  16
    Argumentation: Its Adaptiveness and Efficacy.Hugo Mercier & Dan Sperber - 2011 - 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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  11.  76
    What Good is Moral Reasoning?Hugo Mercier - 2011 - 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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  12.  46
    When Experts Argue: Explaining the Best and the Worst of Reasoning. [REVIEW]Hugo Mercier - 2011 - 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.  1
    Do Easterners and Westerners Treat Contradiction Differently?Hugo Mercier, Yuping Qu, Peng Lu, Jean-Baptiste Van der Henst & Jiehai Zhang - 2015 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 15 (1-2):45-63.
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  14.  2
    A Related Proposal: An Interactionist Perspective on Reason.Hugo Mercier - 2018 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41.
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  15.  33
    Self-Serving Biases and Public Justifications in Trust Games.Cristina Bicchieri & Hugo Mercier - 2013 - 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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  16.  18
    Why a Modular Approach to Reason?Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (5):533-541.
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  17.  20
    Cognitive Obstacles to Pro-Vaccination Beliefs.Helena Miton & Hugo Mercier - 2015 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 19 (11):633-636.
  18.  14
    Reasoning Is for Arguing: Understanding the Successes and Failures of Deliberation.Hugo Mercier & Hélène Landemore - unknown
    Theoreticians of deliberative democracy have sometimes found it hard to relate to the seemingly contradictory experimental results produced by psychologists and political scientists. We suggest that this problem may be alleviated by inserting a layer of psychological theory between the empirical results and the normative political theory. In particular, we expose the argumentative theory of reasoning that makes the observed pattern of findings more coherent. According to this theory, individual reasoning mechanisms work best when used to produce and evaluate arguments (...)
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  19.  33
    Scientists' Argumentative Reasoning.Hugo Mercier & Christophe Heintz - 2014 - Topoi 33 (2):513-524.
    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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  20.  42
    The Social Origins of Folk Epistemology.Hugo Mercier - 2010 - 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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  21. Solving Categorical Syllogisms with Singular Premises.Hugo Mercier & Guy Politzer - 2008 - 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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  22.  40
    Experts and Laymen Grossly Underestimate the Benefits of Argumentation for Reasoning.Hugo Mercier, Emmanuel Trouche, Hiroshi Yama, Christophe Heintz & Vittorio Girotto - 2015 - Thinking and Reasoning 21 (3):341-355.
    Many fields of study have shown that group discussion generally improves reasoning performance for a wide range of tasks. This article shows that most of the population, including specialists, does not expect group discussion to be as beneficial as it is. Six studies asked participants to solve a standard reasoning problem—the Wason selection task—and to estimate the performance of individuals working alone and in groups. We tested samples of U.S., Indian, and Japanese participants, European managers, and psychologists of reasoning. Every (...)
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  23.  1
    Is the Use of Averaging in Advice Taking Modulated by Culture?Hugo Mercier, Yayoi Kawasaki, Hiroshi Yama, Kuniko Adachi & Jean-Baptiste Van der Henst - 2012 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 12 (1-2):1-16.
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  24.  57
    How to Cut a Concept? Review of Doing Without Concepts by Edouard Machery.Hugo Mercier - 2010 - 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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  25.  22
    The Function of Reasoning: Argumentative and Pragmatic Alternatives.Hugo Mercier - 2013 - Thinking and Reasoning 19 (3-4):488-494.
  26.  35
    Looking for Arguments.Hugo Mercier - 2012 - 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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  27.  1
    Introduction: Recording and Explaining Cultural Differences in Argumentation.Hugo Mercier - 2013 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 13 (5):409-417.
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  28.  6
    Our Pigheaded Core: How We Became Smarter to Be Influenced by Other People.Hugo Mercier - 2013 - In Kim Sterelny, Richard Joyce, Brett Calcott & Ben Fraser (eds.), Cooperation and its Evolution. MIT Press. pp. 373.
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  29.  26
    The Social Functions of Explicit Coherence Evaluation.Hugo Mercier - 2012 - 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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  30.  4
    8. Could Reason Be a Module?Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 128-147.
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  31.  2
    Objective Evaluation of Demonstrative Arguments.Emmanuel Trouche, Jing Shao & Hugo Mercier - forthcoming - Argumentation:1-21.
    Many experiments suggest that participants are more critical of arguments that challenge their views or that come from untrustworthy sources. However, other results suggest that this might not be true of demonstrative arguments. A series of four experiments tested whether people are influenced by two factors when they evaluate demonstrative arguments: how confident they are in the answer being challenged by the argument, and how much they trust the source of the argument. Participants were not affected by their confidence in (...)
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  32.  3
    3. From Unconscious Inferences to Intuitions.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 51-67.
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  33.  2
    Conclusion: In Praise of Reason After All.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 328-336.
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  34.  2
    Introduction: A Double Enigma.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 1-12.
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  35.  2
    16. Is Human Reason Universal?Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 277-298.
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  36.  2
    4. Modularity.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 68-75.
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  37.  2
    9. Reasoning: Intuition and Reflection.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 148-174.
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  38.  31
    Evaluating Arguments From the Reaction of the Audience.Hugo Mercier & Brent Strickland - 2012 - 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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  39.  26
    Under Influence.Frédérique De Vignemont & Hugo Mercier - unknown
    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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  40.  1
    Acknowledgments.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 383-384.
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  41.  1
    14. A Reason for Everything.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 251-261.
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  42.  1
    5. Cognitive Opportunism.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 76-89.
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  43.  1
    Frontmatter.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press.
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  44.  1
    7. How We Use Reasons.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 109-127.
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  45.  1
    Index.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 387-400.
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  46.  1
    Illustration Credits.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 385-386.
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  47.  1
    6. Metarepresentations.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 90-106.
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  48.  19
    Introduction: Psychology and Culture.Hugo Mercier - 2014 - 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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  49.  8
    What Causes Failure to Apply the Pigeonhole Principle in Simple Reasoning Problems?Hugo Mercier, Guy Politzer & Dan Sperber - 2017 - Thinking and Reasoning 23 (2):184-189.
    The Pigeonhole Principle states that if n items are sorted into m categories and if n > m, then at least one category must contain more than one item. For instance, if 22 pigeons are put into 17 pigeonholes, at least one pigeonhole must contain more than one pigeon. This principle seems intuitive, yet when told about a city with 220,000 inhabitants none of whom has more than 170,000 hairs on their head, many people think that it is merely likely (...)
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  50.  1
    Believing What You're Told: Politeness and Scalar Inferences.Diana Mazzarella, Emmanuel Trouche, Hugo Mercier & Ira Noveck - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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