The SDT model of belief bias

Complexity, time, and cognitive ability mediate the effects of believability

Dries Trippas*, Simon J. Handley, Michael F. Verde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)


When people evaluate conclusions, they are often influenced by prior beliefs. Prevalent theories claim that belief bias affects the quality of syllogistic reasoning. However, recent work by Dube, Rotello, and Heit (2010) has suggested that belief bias may be a simple response bias. In Experiment 1, receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed that believability affected accuracy for complex but not for simple syllogisms. In Experiment 2, the effect of believability on accuracy disappeared when judgments were made under time pressure and with participants low in cognitive capacity. The observed effects on reasoning accuracy indicate that beliefs influence more than response bias when conditions are conducive to the use of certain reasoning strategies. The findings also underscore the need to consider individual differences in reasoning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1393-1402
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes

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