Theories of categorical reasoning and extended syllogisms

Thinking and Reasoning 12 (4):379 – 412 (2006)
The aim of this study was to examine the predictions of three theories of human logical reasoning, (a) mental model theory, (b) formal rules theory (e.g., PSYCOP), and (c) the probability heuristics model, regarding the inferences people make for extended categorical syllogisms. Most research with extended syllogisms has been restricted to the quantifier “All” and to an asymmetrical presentation. This study used three-premise syllogisms with the additional quantifiers that are used for traditional categorical syllogisms as well as additional syllogistic figures. The predictions of the theories were examined using overall accuracy as well as a multinomial tree modelling technique. The results demonstrated that all three theories were able to predict response selections at high levels. However, the modelling analyses showed that the probability heuristics model did the best in both Experiments 1 and 2.
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