Semantics as a foundation for psychology: A case study of Wason's selection task [Book Review]

We review the various explanations that have been offered toaccount for subjects'' behaviour in Wason ''s famous selection task. Weargue that one element that is lacking is a good understanding ofsubjects'' semantics for the key expressions involved, and anunderstanding of how this semantics is affected by the demands the taskputs upon the subject''s cognitive system. We make novel proposals inthese terms for explaining the major content effects of deonticmaterials. Throughout we illustrate with excerpts from tutorialdialogues which motivate the kinds of analysis proposed. Our long termgoal is an integration of the various insights about conditionalreasoning on offer from different cognitive science methodologies. Thepurpose of this paper is to try to draw the attention of logicians andsemanticists to this area, since we believe that empirical investigationof the cognitive processes involved could benefit from semanticanalyses.
Keywords Bayesian probability  conditionals  evolutionary psychology  semantics
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DOI 10.1023/A:1011211207884
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Rineke Verbrugge (2009). Logic and Social Cognition. Journal of Philosophical Logic 38 (6):649 - 680.

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