An analysis of the effects of reason and emotions in knowledge and belief

Published online Jun

An analysis of the effects of reason and emotions in knowledge and belief

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An analysis of the effects of reason and emotions in knowledge and belief

Abstract Recent experimental studies show that emotions can have a significant effect on the way we think, decide, and solve problems. This paper presents a series of four experiments on how emotions affect logical reasoning. In two experiments different groups of participants first had to pass a manipulated intelligence test.

Their emotional state was altered by giving them feedback, that they performed excellent, poor or on average.

Then they completed a set of logical inference problems with if p, then q statements either in a Wason selection task paradigm or problems from the logical propositional calculus.

Problem content also had either a positive, negative or neutral emotional value.

Major Problems Inherent in Goleman’s Work

Results showed a clear effect of emotions on reasoning performance. Participants in negative mood performed worse than participants in positive mood, but both groups were outperformed by the neutral mood reasoners.

Problem content also had an effect on reasoning performance. In a second set of experiments, participants with exam or spider phobia solved logical problems with contents that were related to their anxiety disorder spiders or exams.

Spider phobic participants' performance was lowered by the spider-content, while exam anxious participants were not affected by the exam-related problem content. Overall, unlike some previous studies, no evidence was found that performance is improved when emotion and content are congruent. These results have consequences for cognitive reasoning research and also for cognitively oriented psychotherapy and the treatment of disorders like depression and anxiety.

Yet, in the last decade many researchers have realized that this is a quite artificial distinction and have regarded both systems as distinct but interacting Dalgleish and Power, ; Martin and Clore, This new line of research resulted in many interesting findings and showed that emotions can have an influence on how we think and how successful we are at solving cognitive tasks e.

Such findings are not only relevant for basic cognitive research, such as reasoning e. In the present paper we explore the effect of emotion on a cognitive task that is often considered to be a test of rational thinking par excellence: We start with a brief description of the logical problems that were used in our study.

Then we summarize what is currently known about the connection between logical reasoning and emotional states.

An analysis of the effects of reason and emotions in knowledge and belief

In the main part of the paper, we describe our hypotheses concerning the connection between logical reasoning and emotional states and then report a series of four experiments, two with a mood induction and two with participants who have a fear of either exams or spiders.

In the final section we discuss the connection between logical reasoning and emotions and draw some general conclusions. Logical reasoning problems Logical reasoning goes back to the antique Greek philosopher Aristotle and is today considered to be essential for the success of people in school and daily life and all kinds of scientific discoveries Johnson-Laird, In the psychological lab it is often investigated by means of conditional reasoning tasks.

Such tasks are composed of a first premise, a second premise and a conclusion. In this regard, two inferences are valid and two are invalid given they are interpreted as implications and not as biconditionals, i. This type of reasoning task was used for Experiments 2—4 while a Wason selection task Wason, was used for Experiment 1.

The classical Wason selection task WST consists of a conditional rule e. Thus, one side of the card presents the truth or falsity of the antecedent e. This task requires turning over only those cards which are needed in order to check the validity of the rule.

The logically correct response is to turn over the A-card to check whether the other side is marked with an even number, MP and the 3-card because this is not an even number and therefore no vowel should be on the other side, MT.

For reasons of brevity, the reader is referred to Johnson-Laird and Knauff for a detailed overview of the different types of reasoning problems used in the present paper. We used these tasks in the present work since sentential conditional tasks and the Wason selection task are the best understood problems of logical reasoning research overview in Johnson-Laird and Byrne, Previous studies and main hypotheses Several studies on logical reasoning found that participants' performance is modulated by their emotional state.

In several experiments, participants underwent a mood induction or were recruited based on their pre-existing emotional state. In both conditions, the emotional state often resulted in a deterioration of reasoning performance Oaksford et al.Evolutionary Psychology of Emotions The idea is that if the psychological reward mechanism is constrained to.

emphasize rewards in the present moment, the simplest counter to a. specious reward from cheating is to have a current feeling that tugs in. precisely the opposite direction.

). This is why Seneca condemned emotions such as anger. ‘‘Reason herself, to whom the reins of power have been entrusted, in fact central to the place of both emotions and beliefs in human functioning. It can be argued that they are in no way restricted to is a difference between knowledge and belief that is of psychological.

"Reason can be negatively affected by our emotions, and if you hold your beliefs with too much passion, this can prevent you being open-minded and lead to a 'my theory right or wrong' kind of attitude":If we have a particular emotional attitude about something, we may manufacture bad reasons in.

Claiming that the investigation of why people believe affects truth, knowledge and objectivity appears to violate the genetic fallacy. We commit the genetic fallacy when we think that understanding the causes of someone's beliefs is relevant to evaluating the validity of their beliefs. An Analysis of the Effects of Reason and Emotions in Knowledge and Belief PAGES 2.

WORDS 1, View Full Essay. More essays like this: emotions and reason, guatemalans and albanians, the reasonable man. Not sure what I'd do without @Kibin - Alfredo Alvarez, student @ Miami University. Jun 10,  · The results indicate that the emotions of an individual have an effect on reasoning performance independent from task content.

In particular, a negative emotion resulted in a lower falsification index meaning that participants in a negative emotional state were more likely to .

Critical Thinking and Emotional Intelligence