Does Logic Feel Good? Testing for Intuitive Detection of Logicality in Syllogistic Reasoning

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Recent research on syllogistic reasoning suggests that the logical status (valid vs. invalid) of even difficult syllogisms can be intuitively detected via small changes in affective state (Morsanyi & Handley, 2012). In a series of 6 experiments, we replicated effects of logical status on liking ratings of difficult syllogisms (although their shape differs from that reported by Morsanyi and Handley), and we tested 2 alternative accounts of our and Morsanyi and Handley’s findings in terms of surface features accidentally confounded with logical status: the partial-repetition hypothesis and the content-effects hypothesis. The results support the content-effects hypothesis, according to which the effects of logical status reflect differences in mean liking for the presented conclusions rather than effects of logical status itself.

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