We offer a case-study in irrationality, showing that even in a high stakes context, intelligent and well trained professionals may adopt dominated practices. In multiple-choicetests one cannot distinguish lucky guesses from answers based on knowledge. Test-makers have dealt with this problem by lowering the incentive to guess, through penalizing errors (called formula scoring), and by eliminating various cues for outperforming random guessing (e.g., a preponderance of correct answers in middle positions), through key balancing. These policies, though widespread (...) and intuitively appealing, are in fact ‘‘irrational’’, and are dominated by alternative solutions. Number-right scoring is superior to formula scoring, and key randomization is superior to key balancing. We suggest that these policies have persisted since all stake-holders – test-makers, test-takers and test-coaches – share the same faulty intuitions. (shrink)
We focus on issues of learning assessment from the point of view of an investigation of philosophical elements in teaching. We contend that assessment of concept possession at school based on ordinary multiple-choicetests might be ineffective because it overlooks aspects of human rationality illuminated by Robert Brandom’s inferentialism––the view that conceptual content largely coincides with the inferential role of linguistic expressions used in public discourse. More particularly, we argue that multiple-choicetests at schools might fail (...) to accurately assess the possession of a concept or the lack of it, for they only check the written outputs of the pupils who take them, without detecting the inferences actually endorsed or used by them. We suggest that school tests would acquire reliability if they enabled pupils to make the reasons of their answers or the inferences they use explicit, so as to contribute to what Brandom calls the game of giving and asking for reasons. We explore the possibility to put this suggestion into practice by deploying two-tier multiple-choicetests. (shrink)
We show that the assertion that every vector space is a projective module implies the axiom of multiple choice and that the reverse implication does not hold in set theory weakened to permit the existence of atoms.
The term ‘locked-in’ syndrome (LIS) describes a medical condition in which persons concerned are severely paralyzed and at the same time fully conscious and awake. The resulting anarthria makes it impossible for these patients to naturally communicate, which results in diagnostic as well as serious practical and ethical problems. Therefore, developing alternative, muscle-independent communication means is of prime importance. Such communication means can be realized via brain–computer interfaces (BCIs) circumventing the muscular system by using brain signals associated with preserved cognitive, (...) sensory, and emotional brain functions. Primarily, BCIs based on electrophysiological measures have been developed and applied with remarkable success. Recently, also blood ﬂow–based neuroimaging methods, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), have been explored in this context. After reviewing recent literature on the development of especially hemodynamically based BCIs, we introduce a highly reliable and easy-to-apply communication procedure that enables untrained participants to motor-independently and relatively effortlessly answer multiple-choice questions based on intentionally generated single-trial fMRI signals that can be decoded online. Our technique takes advantage of the participants’ capability to voluntarily inﬂuence certain spatio-temporal aspects of the blood oxygenation level–dependent (BOLD) signal: source location (by using different mental tasks), signal onset and offset. We show that healthy participants are capable of hemodynamically encoding at least four distinct information units on a single-trial level without extensive pretraining and with little effort. Moreover, realtime data analysis based on simple multi-ﬁlter correlations allows for automated answer decoding with a high accuracy (94.9%) demonstrating the robustness of the presented method.. (shrink)
Some researchers on binary choice inference have argued that people make inferences based on simple heuristics, such as recognition, fluency, or familiarity. Others have argued that people make inferences based on available knowledge. To examine the boundary between heuristic and knowledge usage, we examine binary choice inference processes in terms of attribute substitution in heuristic use. In this framework, it is predicted that people will rely on heuristic or knowledge-based inference depending on the subjective difficulty of the inference task. We (...) conducted competitive tests of binary choice inference models representing simple heuristics and knowledge-based inference models. We found that a simple heuristic model explained inference patterns for subjectively difficult inference tasks, and that a knowledge-based inference model explained subjectively easy inference tasks. These results were consistent with the predictions of the attribute substitution framework. Issues on usage of simple heuristics and psychological processes are discussed. (shrink)
A question that has been largely overlooked by philosophers of religion is how God would be able to effect a rational choice between two worlds of unsurpassable goodness. To answer this question, I draw a parallel with the paradigm cases of indifferent choice, including Buridan's ass, and argue that such cases can be satisfactorily resolved provided that the protagonists employ what Otto Neurath calls an ‘auxiliary motive’. I supply rational grounds for the employment of such a motive, and then argue (...) against the views of Leibniz and Nicholas Rescher to show that this solution would also work for God. (shrink)