An application of the Method of Analysis of Relational Complexity (MARC) to suppositional reasoning in the knight-knave task is outlined. The task requires testing suppositions derived from statements made by individuals who either always tell the truth or always lie. Relational complexity (RC) is defined as the number of unique entities that need to be processed in parallel to arrive at a solution. A selection of five ternary and five quaternary items were presented to 53 psychology (...) students using a pencil and paper format. A computer-administered version was presented to 50 students. As predicted, quaternary problems were associated with higher error rates and longer response times than ternary problems. The computer-administered form was more difficult than the pencil and paper version of the test. These differences are discussed in terms of RC theory and alternative processing accounts. Together, they indicate that the relational complexity metric is a useful and parsimonious way to quantify complexity of reasoning tasks. (shrink)
The confusion/non-consequential thinking explanation proposed by Newstead, Girotto, and Legrenzi (1995) for poor performance on Wason's THOG problem (a hypothetico-deductive reasoning task) was examined in three experiments with 300 participants. In general, as the cognitive complexity of the problem and the possibility of non-consequential thinking were reduced, correct performance increased. Significant but weak facilitation (33-40% correct) was found in Experiment 1 for THOG classification instructions that did not include the indeterminate response option. Substantial facilitation (up to 75% correct) (...) was obtained in Experiment 2 with O'Brien et al.'s (1990) one-other-THOG classification instruction. In Experiment 3, a revised version of O'Brien et al.'s pre-test problem format also led to substantial facilitation, even with the use of the standard three-choice THOG classification instruction. These findings are discussed in terms of Newstead et al.'s theoretical proposal and possible attentional factors. (shrink)
We discuss how modified dual-task approaches may be used to verify the degree to which cognitive tasks are capacity demanding. We also delineate some of the complexities associated with the use of the “double easy-to-hard” paradigm for testing claim of Halford, Wilson & Phillips that hierarchical reasoning imposes processing demands equivalent to those of transitive reasoning.
In this study both adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and typically developing controls were presented with conditional reasoning problems using familiar content. In this task both valid and fallacious conditional inferences that would otherwise be drawn can be suppressed if counterexample cases are brought to mind. Such suppression occurs when additional premises are presented, whose effect is to suggest such counterexample cases. In this study we predicted and observed that this suppression effect was substantially and significantly weaker for (...) autistic participants. We take this as evidence that autistics are less contextualised in their reasoning, a finding that can be linked to research on autism on a variety of other cognitive tasks. (shrink)
This article discusses how sequential sampling models can be integrated in a cognitive architecture. The new theory Retrieval by Accumulating Evidence in an Architecture (RACE/A) combines the level of detail typically provided by sequential sampling models with the level of taskcomplexity typically provided by cognitive architectures. We will use RACE/A to model data from two variants of a picture–word interference task in a psychological refractory period design. These models will demonstrate how RACE/A enables interactions between sequential (...) sampling and long-term declarative learning, and between sequential sampling and task control. In a traditional sequential sampling model, the onset of the process within the task is unclear, as is the number of sampling processes. RACE/A provides a theoretical basis for estimating the onset of sequential sampling processes during task execution and allows for easy modeling of multiple sequential sampling processes within a task. (shrink)
Constructivist learning theory contends that we construct knowledge by experience and that environmental context influences learning. To explore this principle, we examined the cognitive process relational complexity (RC), defined as the number of visual dimensions considered during problem solving on a matrix reasoning task and a well-documented measure of mature reasoning capacity. We sought to determine how the visual environment influences RC by examining the influence of color and visual contrast on RC in a neuroimaging task. To (...) specify the contributions of sensory demand and relational integration to reasoning, our participants performed a non-verbal matrix task comprised of color, no-color line, or black-white visual contrast conditions parametrically varied by complexity (relations 0, 1, 2). The use of matrix reasoning is ecologically valid for its psychometric relevance and for its potential to link the processing of psychophysically specific visual properties with various levels of relational complexity during reasoning. The role of these elements is important because matrix tests assess intellectual aptitude based on these seemingly context-less exercises. This experiment is a first step toward examining the psychophysical underpinnings of performance on these types of problems. The importance of this is increased in light of recent evidence that intelligence can be linked to visual discrimination. We submit three main findings. First, color and black-white visual contrast add demand at a basic sensory level, but contributions from color and from black-white visual contrast are dissociable in cortex such that color engages a “reasoning heuristic” and black-white visual contrast engages a “sensory heuristic”. Second, color supports contextual sense-making by boosting salience resulting in faster problem solving. Lastly, when visual complexity reaches 2-relations, color and visual contrast relinquish salience to other dimensions of problem solving. (shrink)
The core issue of our target article concerns how relational complexity should be assessed. We propose that assessments must be based on actual cognitive processes used in performing each step of a task. Complexity comparisons are important for the orderly interpretation of research findings. The links between relational complexity theory and several other formulations, as well as its implications for neural functioning, connectionist models, the roles of knowledge, and individual and developmental differences, are considered.
Measurements of the dimensionality of chaotic attractors obtained on behavioral data represent the taskcomplexity and also could be hypothesized to reflect the number of synchronized neural groups involved in the generation of the data. The changes in dimensionality for different experimental conditions suggest that limited processing capacity, taskcomplexity, demand, and synchrony in neural firing might be closely related.