More than a decade of research has found strong evidence for P(if A, then C) = P(C|A) (“the Equation”). We argue, however, that this hypothesis provides an overly simplified picture due to its inability to account for relevance. We manipulated relevance in the evaluation of the probability and acceptability of indicative conditionals and found that relevance moderates the effect of P(C|A). This corroborates the Default and Penalty Hypothesis put forward in this paper. Finally, the probability and acceptability of concessive conditionals (...) (“Even if A, then still C”) were investigated and it was found that the Equation provides a better account of concessive conditionals than of indicatives across relevance manipulations. (shrink)
In this study we investigate the influence of reason-relation readings of indicative conditionals and ‘and’/‘but’/‘therefore’ sentences on various cognitive assessments. According to the Frege-Grice tradition, a dissociation is expected. Specifically, differences in the reason-relation reading of these sentences should affect participants’ evaluations of their acceptability but not of their truth value. In two experiments we tested this assumption by introducing a relevance manipulation into the truth-table task as well as in other tasks assessing the participants’ acceptability and probability evaluations. Across (...) the two experiments a strong dissociation was found. The reason-relation reading of all four sentences strongly affected their probability and acceptability evaluations, but hardly affected their respective truth evaluations. Implications of this result for recent work on indicative conditionals are discussed. (shrink)
This paper examines precursors and consequents of perceived relevance of a proposition A for a proposition C. In Experiment 1, we test Spohn's assumption that ∆P = P − P is a good predictor of ratings of perceived relevance and reason relations, and we examine whether it is a better predictor than the difference measure − P). In Experiment 2, we examine the effects of relevance on probabilistic coherence in Cruz, Baratgin, Oaksford, and Over's uncertain “and-to-if” inferences. The results suggest (...) that ∆P predicts perceived relevance and reason relations better than the difference measure and that participants are either less probabilistically coherent in “and-to-if” inferences than initially assumed or that they do not follow P = P. Results are discussed in light of recent results suggesting that the Equation may not hold under conditions of irrelevance or negative relevance. (shrink)
A number of single- and dual-process theories provide competing explanations as to how reasoners evaluate conditional arguments. Some of these theories are typically linked to different instructions?namely deductive and inductive instructions. To assess whether responses under both instructions can be explained by a single process, or if they reflect two modes of conditional reasoning, we re-analysed four experiments that used both deductive and inductive instructions for conditional inference tasks. Our re-analysis provided evidence consistent with a single process. In two new (...) experiments we established a double dissociation of deductive and inductive instructions when validity and plausibility of conditional problems were pitted against each other. This indicates that at least two processes contribute to conditional reasoning. We conclude that single-process theories of conditional reasoning cannot explain the observed results. Theories that postulate at least two processes are needed to account for our findings. (shrink)
Four experiments assessed the relative involvement of different working memory components in two types of reasoning tasks: propositional and spatial reasoning. Using the secondary-task methodology, visual, central-executive, and phonological loads were realised. Although the involvement of visuospatial resources in propositional reasoning has traditionally been considered to be small, an overall analysis of the present data suggests an alternative account. A theoretical analysis of the pattern of results in terms of Evans' (1984, 1989) twostage theory of reasoning is proposed and tested (...) in Experiments 3 and 4, in which direct evidence for the alternative account was obtained: significant disruption of propositional reasoning by a concurrent spatial load. (shrink)
In this manuscript we study individual variation in the interpretation of conditionals by establishing individual profiles of the participants based on their behavioral responses and reflective attitudes. To investigate the participants’ reflective attitudes we introduce a new experimental paradigm called the Scorekeeping Task, and a Bayesian mixture model tailored to analyze the data. The goal is thereby to identify the participants who follow the Suppositional Theory of conditionals and Inferentialism and to investigate their performance on the uncertain and-to-if inference task.
The processes that guide performance in Wason's selection task (WST) are still under debate. The matching bias effect in the negations paradigm and its elimination by explicit negations are central arguments against a substantial role for inferential processes. Two WST experiments were conducted in the negations paradigm to replicate the basic finding and to compare effects of implicit and explicit negations. Results revealed robust matching bias in implicit negations. In contrast to previous findings, matching bias was reduced but not eliminated (...) in conditions using explicit negations. Model-based analyses suggest that matching bias is due to a switch towards a negative test strategy caused by negations. (shrink)