Do Anxiety Level and Anxiety-Related Content Affect Accuracy and Endorsement Rate on Syllogistic Reasoning by Increasing Reliance on Belief-Biased Heuristic Processing?

Daniel Zahra


This study used an adaptation of the belief bias paradigm and correlational analyses to investigate the effects of validity, believability, content, and anxiety level on syllogistic reasoning in a sample comprised of undergraduate students and volunteers from the general population within a dual process framework. All the variables were found to affect reasoning accuracy, but content did not affect endorsement rate. These patterns of responding were not due solely to working memory differences, and accuracy decreases in high-anxious participants were found not to be due to a reliance on belief-biased processing resulting from working memory depletion, thus suggesting that what determines the engagement of the analytic and heuristic processes in the dual process theory of reasoning is not cognitive load.

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