The Facilitative Effect of Context on Second-Order Social Reasoning


This paper is about higher-order social reasoning such as “I think that you think that I think …”. Previous research has shown that such reasoning seriously deteriorates in complex social interactions. It has been suggested that reasoning can be facilitated greatly if an abstract logical problem is embedded in a context. This has not yet been tested for higher-order social reasoning. We presented participants with strategic games that demand higher-order social reasoning. The games were embedded in the context of a marble game. Participants performed really well, that is, almost at ceiling. We argue that context has a facilitative effect on higher order-social reasoning.

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