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Belief Formation

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Synonyms

Cognitive state; Epistemological state; Knowledge claim; Mental model

Definition

In psychology, a belief is typically defined as an internal mental state (e.g., a mental model) or a disposition that is often associated with a particular response that could be in the form of a statement or an action (see, e.g., Fishbein and Ajzen 1975). This is a somewhat vague definition as it refers to states or dispositions and statements or actions. Prior to the rise of cognitive psychology Neisser (1967) in the 1900s, a belief was more simply associated with a statement that made a factual claim of some sort. Our understanding of human reasoning is no longer so simple. Complicating the definition of ‘belief’ are several related considerations. First, a belief is a particular human characteristic that can rarely be considered in isolation. Other beliefs are typically relevant to a particular belief under scrutiny (see, e.g., Quine and Ullian 1978). For example, when considering an...

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_376
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References

  • Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

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  • Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (1975). Belief, attitude, intention and behavior: An introduction to theory and research. Reading: Addison-Wesley.

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  • Neisser, U. (1967). Cognitive psychology. New York: Appleton.

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  • Quine, W. V. O., & Ullian, J. S. (1978). The web of belief (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

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  • Wittgenstein, L. (1922). Tractatus logico-philosophicus. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Translated by C. K. Ogden.

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Correspondence to J. Michael Spector .

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© 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

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Michael Spector, J. (2012). Belief Formation. In: Seel, N.M. (eds) Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_376

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