Conditional reasoning with negations: Implicit and explicit affirmation or denial and the role of contrast classes

Thinking and Reasoning 6 (3):221 – 251 (2000)

We report two studies on the effect of implicitly versus explicitly conveying affirmation and denial problems about conditionals. Recently Evans and Handley (1999) and Schroyens et al. (1999b, 2000b) showed that implicit referencing elicits matching bias: Fewer determinate inferences are made, when the categorical premise (e.g., B) mismatches the conditional's referred clause (e.g., A). Also, the effect of implicit affirmation (B affirms not-A) is larger than the effect of implicit denial (B denies A). Schroyens et al. hypothesised that this interaction is due to uncertainty in the case-wise affirmation of the contrast class of negated elements involved in implicit affirmations. In Experiment 1 we tested this hypothesis by manipulating the set size of the conditional clauses. The results confirm that binary sets, where the contrast class is a singleton, eliminate the differential effect of implicit affirmation and denial. With non-binary sets the interaction is not modulated by the scope of the contrast class (3, 5, 9 elements). Experiment 2 further investigated the role of contrast classes by using class inclusion to construct implicit affirmations (Mammal vs Mammal or Monkey) and implicit denial (No-Mammal vs Mammal or Monkey), in addition to the standard implicit problems mediated by contrast-class inclusion [(No-)Mammal/No-Mammal; Reptile; Snake). Findings indicate that class inclusion (Mammal/Monkey; Reptile/ Snake) only marginally affects performance, and is independent of the type of problem. This would suggest that the implicitness problem-type interaction is dependent on constructing contrast classes. However, the experiment failed to replicate the interaction, even on the subset of problems repeating the abstract letter/number format of Experiment 1. Moreover, with the natural binary set-sizes (vowels/consonants) the implicitness effect was eliminated entirely.
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DOI 10.1080/13546780050114519
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References found in this work BETA

Mental Logic.Martin D. S. Braine & David P. O'brien - 2001 - Studia Logica 68 (2):297-299.
Heuristic and Analytic Processes in Reasoning.Jonathan Evans - 1984 - British Journal of Psychology 75 (4):451-468.

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The Probabilistic Approach to Human Reasoning.Mike Oaksford & Nick Chater - 2001 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 5 (8):349-357.

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