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In Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006)

Inconsistent beliefs call for revision-but which of them should individuals revise? A long-standing view is that they should make minimal changes that restore consistency. An alternative view is that their primary task is to explain how the inconsistency arose. Hence, they are likely to violate minimalism in two ways: they should infer more information than is strictly necessary to establish consistency and they should reject more information than is strictly necessary to establish consistency. Previous studies corroborated the first effect: reasoners use causal simulations to build explanations that resolve inconsistencies. Here, we show that the second effect is true too: they use causal simulations to reject more information than is strictly necessary to establish consistency. When they abandon a cause, the effects of the cause topple like dominos: Reasoners tend to deny the occurrence of each subsequent event in the chain. Four studies corroborated this prediction.

Khemlani Sangeet, Johnson-Laird P N

2020-Sep-23

Inconsistency, bridging inferences, causal reasoning, domino effects, mental models, minimalism