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Collins, Peter J.; Krzyanowska, Karolina; Hartmann, Stephan; Wheeler, Gregory; Hahn, Ulrike (2020): Conditionals and testimony. In: Cognitive Psychology, Vol. 122, 101329
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Abstract

Conditionals and conditional reasoning have been a long-standing focus of research across a number of disciplines, ranging from psychology through linguistics to philosophy. But almost no work has concerned itself with the question of how hearing or reading a conditional changes our beliefs. Given that we acquire much-perhaps most-of what we believe through the testimony of others, the simple matter of acquiring conditionals via others' assertion of a conditional seems integral to any full understanding of the conditional and conditional reasoning. In this paper we detail a number of basic intuitions about how beliefs might change in response to a conditional being uttered, and show how these are backed by behavioral data. In the remainder of the paper, we then show how these deceptively simple phenomena pose a fundamental challenge to present theoretical accounts of the conditional and conditional reasoning - a challenge which no account presently fully meets.