The roles of belief, evidence, perspective, and individual differences in scientific evaluations
Reasoners who adopt the perspective of another can increase the proportion of logically valid inferences they make (Thompson, Evans, & Handley, 2005). A possible explanation is that shifting perspective promotes analytic reasoning. If this were the case, then shifting perspectives should also reduce the belief-bias effect. Furthermore, strong evidence should be preferred over weak evidence. To test this, 256 participants read twenty-four research descriptions that varied in evidence quality and degree of personal belief content. Participants indicated whether the data supported the researcher’s hypotheses. Belief bias was reduced when participants evaluated the data from the researcher’s perspective relative to their own. Evidence strength was an important determining factor in decision-making and it was sensitive to perspective and individual differences.
perspective, scientific reasoning, belief bias, Dual Process Theory
Master of Arts (M.A.)