A new probabilistic data association (PDA) approach is proposed for symbol detection in spatial multiplexing multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) systems. By designing a joint detection (JD) structure for consecutive symbol vectors in the same transmit burst, more a priori information is exploited when updating the estimated posterior marginal probabilities for each symbol per iteration. Therefore the proposed PDA detector (denoted as PDA-JD detector) outperforms the conventional PDA detectors in the context of correlated input bit streams. Moreover, the conventional PDA detectors are shown to be a special case of the PDA-JD detector. Simulations and analyses are given to demonstrate the effectiveness of the new method.