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Reasoning with conditionals: Does every counterexample count? It's frequency that counts


Geiger, Sonja M; Oberauer, Klaus (2007). Reasoning with conditionals: Does every counterexample count? It's frequency that counts. Memory & Cognition, 35(8):2060-2074.

Abstract

A series of experiments investigated what determines people's degree of belief in conditionals and their readiness to draw inferences from them. Information on the frequency of exceptions to conditional rules was contrasted with information about the number of different disabling conditions causing these exceptions. Experiments 1 and 2, using conditionals with arbitrary contents, revealed a strong effect of frequency information and no effect of disabling information. Experiment 3 established that, in the absence of frequency information, the disabling condition information used in Experiments 1 and 2 affected belief in the conditionals and inference acceptance, as has been found in many previous studies (Byrne, 1989; DeNeys, Schaeken, & d' Ydewalle, 2003b). Experiment 4 extended the results of Experiments 1 and 2 to everyday conditionals. The results show that belief in a conditional, and the confidence in inferences subsequently drawn from it, both depend on the subjective conditional probability of the consequent given the antecedent. This probability is estimated from the relative frequency of exceptions regardless of what causes them.

Abstract

A series of experiments investigated what determines people's degree of belief in conditionals and their readiness to draw inferences from them. Information on the frequency of exceptions to conditional rules was contrasted with information about the number of different disabling conditions causing these exceptions. Experiments 1 and 2, using conditionals with arbitrary contents, revealed a strong effect of frequency information and no effect of disabling information. Experiment 3 established that, in the absence of frequency information, the disabling condition information used in Experiments 1 and 2 affected belief in the conditionals and inference acceptance, as has been found in many previous studies (Byrne, 1989; DeNeys, Schaeken, & d' Ydewalle, 2003b). Experiment 4 extended the results of Experiments 1 and 2 to everyday conditionals. The results show that belief in a conditional, and the confidence in inferences subsequently drawn from it, both depend on the subjective conditional probability of the consequent given the antecedent. This probability is estimated from the relative frequency of exceptions regardless of what causes them.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2007
Deposited On:08 Jul 2014 08:12
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:57
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0090-502X
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03192938
PubMed ID:18265621

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