Properties of the diversity effect in category-based inductive reasoning

Thinking and Reasoning 17 (2):156 - 181 (2011)
Abstract
Four experiments investigated how people judge the plausibility of category-based arguments, focusing on the diversity effect, in which arguments with diverse premise categories are considered particularly strong. In Experiment 1 we show that priming people as to the nature of the blank property determines whether sensitivity to diversity is observed. In Experiment 2 we find that people's hypotheses about the nature of the blank property predict judgements of argument strength. In Experiment 3 we examine the effect of our priming methodology on people's tendency to bring knowledge about causality or similarity to bear when evaluating arguments, and in Experiment 4 we show that whether people's hypotheses about the nature of the blank property were causal predicted ratings of argument strength. Together these results suggest that diversity effects occur because diverse premises lead people to bring general features of the premise categories to mind. Although our findings are broadly consistent with Bayesian and Relevance-based approaches to category-based inductive reasoning, neither approach captures all of our findings
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