Date of this Version
Thinking & Reasoning
In studying how lay people evaluate arguments, psychologists have typically focused on logical form and content. This emphasis has masked an important yet underappreciated aspect of everyday argument evaluation: social cues to argument strength. Here we focus on the ways in which observers evaluate arguments by the reaction they evoke in an audience. This type of evaluation is likely to occur either when people are not privy to the content of the arguments or when they are not expert enough to appropriately evaluate it. Four experiments explore cues that participants might take into account in evaluating arguments from the reaction of the audience. They demonstrate that participants can use audience motivation, expertise, and size as clues to argument quality. By contrast we find no evidence that participants take audience diversity into account.
This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Thinking & Reasoning, 2012 © Taylor & Francis, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13546783.2012.682352.
argument evaluation, argumentation, audience, social cues
Mercier, H., & Strickland, B. (2012). Evaluating Arguments From the Reaction of the Audience. Thinking & Reasoning, 18 (3), 365-378. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13546783.2012.682352
Date Posted: 18 December 2014
This document has been peer reviewed.