Effects of reporting beliefs in syllogistically related propositions on the recognition of unmentioned propositions

Barbara Loken, Robert S. Weyer

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Asked 160 male and female undergraduates to complete a belief questionnaire that contained propositions of the form "X implies Y." In some cases, the questionnaire items included both premises and the conclusion of a syllogism of the form "A implies B, B implies C, A implies C." In other cases, one or more of these propositions was omitted. Ss were later asked whether each of several propositions had or had not appeared in the questionnaire. Correct recognition of a statement that had actually been in the questionnaire was not appreciably affected by other statements in which beliefs were reported. However, false recognition of a statement that had not been in the questionnaire was substantially increased by reporting beliefs in other statements that were syllogistically related to it. These effects occurred over and above the effect of simply having been exposed previously to the concepts specified in the propositions being recognized and occurred regardless of whether the proposition to be recognized was the conclusion or a premise of the syllogism. Results are interpreted in terms both of the role of syllogistic reasoning in belief processes and of a conceptualization based on R. P. Abelson and C. M. Reich's (1969) implicational molecule theory. (34 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-322
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1983


  • reporting beliefs in syllogistically related propositions, recognition of unmentioned propositions, college students

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