Counterfactuals, indicative conditionals, and negation under uncertainty: Are there cross-cultural differences?


In this paper we study selected argument forms involving counterfactuals and indicative conditionals under uncertainty. We selected argument forms to explore whether people with an Eastern cultural background reason differently about conditionals compared to Westerners, because of the differences in the location of negations. In a 2 × 2 between-participants design, 63 Japanese university students were allocated to four groups, crossing indicative conditionals and counterfactuals, and each presented in two random task orders. The data show close agreement between the responses of Easterners and Westerners. The modal responses provide strong support for the hypothesis that conditional probability is the best predictor for counterfactuals and indicative conditionals. Finally, the grand majority of the responses are probabilistically coherent, which endorses the psychological plausibility of choosing coherence-based probability logic as a rationality framework for psychological reasoning research.

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