Forming subjective representations of subjective representations: Evidence of a subjective status bias

Genetic Social And General Psychology Monographs 131 (3):251-276 (2005)
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Abstract

Proceeding from serendipitous observations, three studies and two pilot experiments examined how the way mental representations are conceived varies as the subjective status of the representations is manifest or otherwise. Participants were found to produce simple line drawings differently when the drawings were assumed to represent mental contents (beliefs, imaginations, percepts). The results challenged particular lay epistemological concepts. They were partly accounted for by Gricean conversational rules, but a "subjective status bias" was postulated to have them fully explained. The discussion and recommendations for research--completed with two pilot studies--center on the nature of this bias relating it either to a tendency to conceive subjective representations as vague "shadows of reality", or to a tendency to have an increased impact of the law of pregnance. The empirical outcomes of the pilot studies argue for the latter tendency.

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Guido Peeters
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

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