You can't not believe everything you read.

Journal Article

Can people comprehend assertions without believing them? Descartes (1644/1984) suggested that people can and should, whereas Spinoza (1677/1982) suggested that people should but cannot. Three experiments support the hypothesis that comprehension includes an initial belief in the information comprehended. Ss were exposed to false information about a criminal defendant (Experiments 1 and 2) or a college student (Experiment 3). Some Ss were exposed to this information while under load (Experiments 1 and 2) or time pressure (Experiment 3). Ss made judgments about the target (sentencing decisions or liking judgments). Both load and time pressure caused Ss to believe the false information and to use it in making consequential decisions about the target. In Spinozan terms, both manipulations prevented Ss from "unbelieving" the false information they automatically believed during comprehension.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gilbert, DT; Tafarodi, RW; Malone, PS

Published Date

  • August 1993

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 65 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 221 - 233

PubMed ID

  • 8366418

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-1315

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3514

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037//0022-3514.65.2.221

Language

  • eng