Matching versus optimal data selection in the Wason selection task

Thinking and Reasoning 7 (3):295 – 311 (2001)
Abstract
It has been reported as a robust effect that people are likely to select a matching case in the Wason selection task. For example, they usually select the 5 case, in the Wason selection task with the conditional "if an E, then a not-5". This was explained by the matching bias account that people are likely to regard a matching case as relevant to the truth of the conditional (Evans, 1998). However, because a positive concept usually constructs a smaller set than its negative one does (a rarity assumption), it is more effective to get information on the truth of the conditional in a positive set than in a negative set. Thus the optimal data selection account can also explain the effect. The set size of Q and matching by introducing negation were manipulated independently in four experiments. From the results it was inferred that the so-called matching bias was an amalgam of two different cognitive components-relevance judgement by matching and optimal data selection.
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