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Analytical Thinking Under Distrust Essays

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In our social environment we run into the danger that someone is lying to us, distorts a fact when reproducing it, or perhaps entirely omits an important detail. It is widely known that people from time to time say an untruth. The high prevalence of deception and lie telling is well documented in research (e.g. DePaulo & Kashy, 1998; DePaulo, Kashy, Kirkendol, Wyer, & Epstein, 1996). Our ability to notice or recognise deception and lies and in a next step to respond appropriately is not very far-reaching. We are only marginally capable of distinguishing truth from falsehood. Even trained people, such as police officers, succeed only slightly better than a lay person in detecting liars. Further on they are to no greater degree sure that a person is telling the truth (Akehurst, Koehnken, Vrij, & Bull, 1996).
Function of distrust
However, due to the very high probability of being deceived and being lied to in combination with our incapacity of knowing whether we can bestow somebody's faith, a good portion of distrust can be seen as healthy and in some extreme cases even important for survival? Previous research showed that distrust leads to a deeper and more accurate elaboration of information and as one possible consequence to the formation of alternative hypotheses, so-called counter scenarios (Schul, Burnstein, & Bardi, 1996; Schul, Mayo, & Burnstein, 2008). Distrust leads to a more elaborated information processing that allows a controlling for possible alternative explanations as well as possible inconsistencies. We assume that one of the most relevant functions of distrust is not to be guided through a first impression, or an obvious plausibility (Schul et al., 2008):
“distrust is interpreted as the tendency of individuals to...


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...e bias where information proceeds in a biased manner.
The aim of the present study thus was to investigate the influence of unconscious distrust in distinguishing truth from falsehood. In addition, we would like to find out about the cues which were used to come to a decision. First, we assume that distrust enhances especially the reasoning process, with regard to the logical consistency of arguments, probably leading to an increased analytical thinking. Thus, the increased inclination to verify possible inconsistencies should improve veracity judgments because “inconsistency” is a rather valid cue to distinguish truth from lies (DePaulo, Lindsay, Malone, Muhlenbruck, Charlton, & Cooper, 2003). Second, the control for inconsistencies should furthermore decrease the widespread tendency of a belief bias. Both assumptions were examined in the present two experiments.



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