Is model construction open to strategic decisions? An exploration in the field of linear reasoning

Thinking and Reasoning 9 (2):97 – 131 (2003)
Abstract
This paper reports four experiments investigating whether model construction of linear reasoning problems is open to strategic decisions. A reversed choice/nochoice paradigm was used in which reasoners first had to apply two model construction strategies (acronym and rehearsal strategy) to two problem sets. Next, they could choose freely among the two strategies to apply to a new problem set. Experiment 1 showed that reasoners selected the strategy that they experienced as the most accurate one in the no-choice phase. Moreover, in Experiment 2, it was found that reasoners adapted their strategy choice to changing problem features, to use the most suitable strategy for premise encoding. Experiments 3 and 4 generalised these findings to more complex linear reasoning problems with a mixed sentence frame and a semi-continuous presentation of the premises, and to two-model problems. On the basis of these results, we argue that strategic decisions influence model construction in linear reasoning.
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