Cognitive complexity of suppositional reasoning: An application of the relational complexity metric to the Knight-knave task

Thinking and Reasoning 8 (2):109 – 134 (2002)
Abstract
An application of the Method of Analysis of Relational Complexity (MARC) to suppositional reasoning in the knight-knave task is outlined. The task requires testing suppositions derived from statements made by individuals who either always tell the truth or always lie. Relational complexity (RC) is defined as the number of unique entities that need to be processed in parallel to arrive at a solution. A selection of five ternary and five quaternary items were presented to 53 psychology students using a pencil and paper format. A computer-administered version was presented to 50 students. As predicted, quaternary problems were associated with higher error rates and longer response times than ternary problems. The computer-administered form was more difficult than the pencil and paper version of the test. These differences are discussed in terms of RC theory and alternative processing accounts. Together, they indicate that the relational complexity metric is a useful and parsimonious way to quantify complexity of reasoning tasks.
Keywords 380102 Learning, Memory, Cognition and Language  C1
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