A dual-process specification of causal conditional reasoning

Thinking and Reasoning 11 (3):239 – 278 (2005)
Abstract
There are two accounts describing causal conditional reasoning: the probabilistic and the mental models account. According to the probabilistic account, the tendency to accept a conclusion is related to the probability by which cause and effect covary. According to the mental models account, the tendency to accept a conclusion relates to the availability of counterexamples. These two accounts are brought together in a dual-process theory: It is argued that the probabilistic reasoning process can be considered as a heuristic process whereas the mental models account can be seen as its analytic counterpart. Experiment 1 showed that the two processes differ on a temporal dimension: The variation in fast responses was best predicted by the variation in likelihood information, while the variation in slow responses was best predicted by variation in counterexample information. Experiments 2 and 3 validate the override principle: The likelihood conclusion can be overwritten when specific counterexamples are retrieved in time. In Experiment 2 both accounts were compared based on their difference in input. In Experiment 3 we used a verbal protocol analysis to validate the dual-process idea at the output level. The data of the three experiments provide converging support for framing the two reasoning accounts in a dual-process theory.
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