Cognition and Communication: Judgmental Biases, Research Methods, and the Logic of Conversation

Cognition and Communication: Judgmental Biases, Research Methods, and the Logic of Conversation

Cognition and Communication: Judgmental Biases, Research Methods, and the Logic of Conversation

Cognition and Communication: Judgmental Biases, Research Methods, and the Logic of Conversation

Synopsis

"This book introduces social science researchers to the "logic of conversation" developed by Paul Grice, a philosopher of language, who proposed the cooperative principle and a set of maxims on which conversationalists implicitly rely. Norbert Schwarz applies this framework to a wide range of topics, including research on person perception, decision making, and the emergence of context effects in attitude measurement and public opinion research. Experimental studies reveal that the biases generally seen in such research are, in part, a function of violations of Gricean conversational norms. The author discusses implications for the design of experiments and questionnaires and addresses the socially contextualized nature of human judgment." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

To many observers of psychological research, the focus of the field bears an unfortunate resemblance to the scenes depicted in Fig. 1.1: What psychologists seem particularly interested in are the mental processes of individuals studied in social isolation. And whatever these individuals are thinking about, they seem likely to get it wrong as the vast literature on judgmental biases and shortcomings suggests. In this book, I argue that these two observations are not unrelated: Our focus on individual thought processes has fostered a neglect of the social context in which individuals do their thinking and this neglect has contributed to the less than flattering portrait that psychology has painted of human judgment.

To illustrate the scope of the issue, it is helpful to begin with a review of a diverse set of judgmental fallacies. Although the examples may initially strike the reader as unrelated, it will soon become apparent that they share a common theme.

FALLACIES OF HUMAN JUDGMENT

No matter if we form impressions of other people, recall episodes from memory, report our attitudes in an opinion poll, or make important decisions, psychological research suggests that the result is error prone. The errors we make are not trivial and often seem to violate common sense and basic logic. Moreover, minor variations in the research procedures used, or the questions asked, can result in major differences in the obtained results, sometimes suggesting opposite conclusions about the issue under investigation. A few . . .

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