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pragmatic truth

Resource Type
  • Zhang, Charles
Publication Date
  • Abstract

    In crisis situations, people put a premium on relevant information. Two experiments show that messages with clear decision implications and known factual errors are preferred over factually correct messages with ambiguous decision implications and more likely to be shared. This challenges a fundamental norm of cooperative conversational conduct, namely, not to say something one believes to be false. We propose a distinction between pragmatic and literal truth; literal truth pertains to the veracity of the message-as-a-whole, whereas pragmatic truth pertains to the accuracy of its decision-relevant implications. When literal and pragmatic truth conflict, speakers and receivers privilege pragmatic truth over literal truth. Implications for norms of conversational conduct and the accuracy of crisis communication are discussed.
This study is freely available to the general public via web download.
  • Is version of
    DOI: 10.3886/E120841

Update Metadata: 2020-08-29 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2020-08-29

Zhang, Charles (2020): pragmatic truth. Version: 1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.