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Reading: The Development of Counterfactual Reasoning in Belief Revision

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Research Article

The Development of Counterfactual Reasoning in Belief Revision

Authors:

Nicole Van Hoeck ,

Department of Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, BE
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Russell Revlin,

Department of Psychology, University of California, US
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Kristien Dieussaert,

Department of Psychology, KU Leuven, BE
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Walter Schaeken

Department of Psychology, KU Leuven, BE
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Abstract

The present study examines how children revise beliefs in the face of a new piece of information that they must accept as true and under what circumstances their belief-revision processes differ from college-aged adults. Results suggest that overall, 7-year-old children (children at Stage 2 reasoning; Moshman, 1990) revise beliefs as do adults, by rejecting particular beliefs in favour of more general ones. However, only adults adjust their revision strategy as a consequence of the logical structure of the initial belief set. Adults, but not children, tend to organise their revised beliefs to be consistent with general statements more often when the set of beliefs create a Modus Tollens logic structure than when they create a Modus Ponens structure. This difference in belief revision by the two age groups reflects their sensitivity to logical structure.
How to Cite: Van Hoeck, N. et al., (2012). The Development of Counterfactual Reasoning in Belief Revision. Psychologica Belgica. 52(4), pp.407–433. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/pb-52-4-407
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Published on 01 Dec 2012.
Peer Reviewed

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