How argument structure biases acceptance of advertising claims: explaining deviations from logical reasoning in terms of subjective probabilities
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Arguments in advertising are intended to maximize the acceptance of the product claims being made. The structure of the argument can influence claim acceptance apart from the quality of the substantiating evidence presented. Specifically, arguments having irrelevant but representative conditionals, hierarchically-related claims, multiple data propositions supporting a single claim, and irrelevant qualifications of conditionals trigger systematic deviations from logical reasoning and over-acceptance of the claim. Probability theory is used to contrast the logical relationships among the beliefs corresponding to each argument with the actual integration rule used by message recipients.