How reaction time measures elucidate the matching bias and the way negations are processed

Thinking and Reasoning 12 (3):309 – 328 (2006)
Abstract
Matching bias refers to the non-normative performance that occurs when elements mentioned in a rule do not correspond with those in a test item (e.g., consider the double mismatch between the rule If there is a not a T on the card then there is not a 4 and a card showing H6 ). One aim of the present work is to capture matching bias via reaction times as participants carry out truth-table evaluation tasks. Experiment 1 requires participants to verify conditional rules, and Experiment 2 to falsify them as the paradigm (a) employs four types of conditional sentences that systematically rotate negatives in the antecedent and consequent; and (b) presents predominantly cases having true antecedents. These experiments reveal that mismatching is linked to higher rates of incorrect responses and slower evaluation times. A second aim is to investigate the way not is processed. We compare a narrow view of negations, which argues that negation only denies information (e.g., not-T only says there is no T), to a search for alternatives view, which says that negations function to prime appropriate alternatives (e.g., not-T primes a search for other letters). Findings from both experiments support a narrow reading view.
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