Deductive reasoning and matching-bias inhibition training: Evidence from a debiasing paradigm

Thinking and Reasoning 8 (3):205 – 224 (2002)
Using the matching bias example, the aim of the present studies was to show that adults' reasoning biases are due to faulty executive inhibition programming. In the first study, the subjects were trained on Wason's classical card selection task; half were given training in how to inhibit the perceptual matching bias (experimental group) and half in logic without the inhibition component (control group). On the pre- and post-tests, their performance was assessed on the Evans conditional rule falsification task (with a negation in the antecedent of the rule), a task that also involves matching bias. In addition, subjects were tested for perceptual field dependence/independence using the Embedded Figures Test. The results brought out a specific inhibition training effect, as well as a clear-cut relationship in the experimental group between receptiveness to training and perceptual field independence. In the second study, the training paradigm was the same except that on the pre- and post-tests, the negation was in the consequent of the conditional rule (in this case, the perceptual matching response corresponds to the logical response). The subjects succeeded on the pre-test, and the matching-bias inhibition training had a negative effect on post-test performance. This specific negative priming effect confirms the inhibitory impact of our experimental training and outlines the dissociation of inhibition and logical components.
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