Attitude and structure as factors in the distortion of reasoning

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Judgments of the validity of neutral and emotional arguments were secured from 559 college students representing Northern, Southern, and Western U. S. universities. The hypothesis that attitudes and beliefs are a determinant of reasoning could not be rejected. Groups from Southern states differed significantly from Northern groups in distortions of reasoning, both on the ethnocentrism scale and on an anti-Negro subscale. “The greatest degree of relative distortion did not occur on the most ambiguous structures, but rather on those structures most consonant with the relevant attitudes and beliefs of the subjects.” (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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