Cultural differences in reasoning and persuasion have mainly been documented for the East-West divide. Nisbett (2003) expects such differences to be absent for Western cultures because of their shared Grecian inheritance. The results of two experiments, however, show that France and The Netherlands, both Western European countries, differ with respect to the persuasiveness of different evidence types. In Study 1 (N = 600), cultural differences occurred between the relative persuasiveness of anecdotal, statistical, causal, and expert evidence. In Study 2 (N = 600), the quality of statistical and expert evidence was manipulated. For the Dutch, but not for the French, normatively strong evidence was more persuasive than normatively weak evidence for both evidence types. Implications and possible explanations are discussed.

Key Words: Argument Quality Evidence France Persuasion The Netherlands
Argument quality

The lack of attention for how arguments influence the persuasion process has been qualified as probably the most serious problem in communication and persuasion research. Despite frequent calls to address this issue, the question remains largely unanswered. The research project The quality of pragmatic arguments (funded by NWO, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) aims to address this issue. Within this project, the criteria developed within argumentation theory are compared to the criteria lay people appear to use in evaluating arguments. Experiments are conducted to assess whether arguments meeting these criteria are indeed more persuasive than arguments that do not meet them.

Selected publications:

Hornikx, J., & Hoeken, H. (2007). Cultural differences in the persuasiveness of evidence types and evidence quality. Communication Monographs, 74 (4), 443-463.

Van Enschot, R., Hustinx, L., & Hoeken, H. (2003). The concept of argument quality in the Elaboration Likelihood Model. In F. H. van Eemeren, J. A. Blair, C. A. Willard, & A. F. Snoeck Henkemans (Eds.,), Anyone who has a view. Theoretical contributions to the Study of Argumentation (pp. 319-335). Dordrecht: Kluwer.

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