The effect of emotion on interpretation and logic in a conditional reasoning task

Isabelle Blanchette

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The effect of emotional content on logical reasoning is explored in three experiments. The participants completed a conditional reasoning task (If p, then q) with emotional and neutral contents. In Experiment 1, existing emotional and neutral words were used. The emotional value of initially neutral words was experimentally manipulated in Experiments 1B and 2, using classical conditioning. In all experiments, participants were less likely to provide normatively correct answers when reasoning about emotional stimuli, compared with neutral stimuli. This was true for both negative (Experiments 1B & 2) and positive contents (Experiment 2). The participants' interpretations of the conditional statements were also measured (perceived sufficiency, necessity, causality, and plausibility). The results showed the expected relationship between interpretation and reasoning. However, emotion did not affect interpretation. Emotional and neutral conditional statements were interpreted similarly. The results are discussed in light of current models of emotion and reasoning. Copyright 2006 Psychonomic Society, Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1112-1125
    Number of pages13
    JournalMemory and Cognition
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2006


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