Cross-Cultural Differences in Informal Argumentation: Norms, Inductive Biases and Evidentiality

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Karaslaan H., Hohenberger A., Demir H., Hall S., Oaksford M.

JOURNAL OF COGNITION AND CULTURE, vol.18, pp.358-389, 2018 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 18
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1163/15685373-12340035
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.358-389
  • Keywords: cultural differences, Bayesian argumentation, source reliability, evidentiality, inductive biases, rational norms, BAYESIAN-APPROACH, SOURCE MEMORY, COGNITION, MODEL, PERSUASIVENESS, CONTRADICTION, FALLACIES, LANGUAGE, QUALITY, SYSTEMS
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Cross-cultural differences in argumentation may be explained by the use of different norms of reasoning. However, some norms derive from, presumably universal, mathematical laws. This inconsistency can be resolved, by considering that some norms of argumentation, like Bayes theorem, are mathematical functions. Systematic variation in the inputs may produce culture-dependent inductive biases although the function remains invariant. This hypothesis was tested by fitting a Bayesian model to data on informal argumentation from Turkish and English cultures, which linguistically mark evidence quality differently. The experiment varied evidential marking and informant reliability in argumentative dialogues and revealed cross-cultural differences for both independent variables. The Bayesian model fitted the data from both cultures well but there were differences in the parameters consistent with culture-specific inductive biases. These findings are related to current controversies over the universality of the norms of reasoning and the role of normative theories in the psychology of reasoning.