How to Get Rid of the Belief Bias: Boosting Analytical Thinking via Pragmatics


  • Laura Caravona
  • Laura Macchi
  • Francesco Poli
  • Michela Vezzoli
  • Miriam A. G. Franchella
  • Maria Bagassi


The previous research attempts to reduce the influence of the belief bias on deductive thinking have often been unsuccessful and, when they succeeded, they failed to replicate. In this paper, we propose a new way to see an old problem. Instead of considering the analytical abilities of the respondent, we focus on the communicative characteristics of the experimental task. By changing the pragmatics into play through a subtle manipulation of the instruction of the syllogism problem, we obtained a strong improvement in the accuracy of the performance in both untrained and trained in logic respondents. We suggest that current models of deductive thinking should be broadened to consider also communicative understanding as part of the processing of the problem.