Inhibition's Role in Mediating Recall of Arguments
Mogan, James R., 1988--
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Arguments are everywhere and even college students lack the skill to evaluate whether a reason provides minimal support for a claim. Part of this problem may be that when reading an argument, an individual’s personal beliefs about the topic become activated and can then interfere with precise memory for an argument’s claim. Precise representation of the claim must occur long enough for accurate evaluation. The current study assesses whether inhibition skill level correlates with argument recall skill level. Inhibition skill should help the reader maintain a precise representation of the claim while reading the reason and evaluating the claim-reason connection. In the current study, participants read sets of simple claim-reason arguments and evaluated half for agreement and half for quality (i.e. is the claim supported by the reason). Immediately after rating, participants then recalled the claim. Finally, a go/no-go task and letter span task assessed inhibition skill and working memory capacity. It was hypothesized that those skilled at inhibition would score higher on recall than those less skilled at inhibition (while controlling for general working memory skill). This study examines the importance of inhibiting one’s personal beliefs when evaluating and remembering arguments, an important quality in our everyday lives.