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Reasoning with conditionals: A test of formal models of four theories


Oberauer, Klaus (2006). Reasoning with conditionals: A test of formal models of four theories. Cognitive Psychology, 53(3):238-283.

Abstract

The four dominant theories of reasoning from conditionals are translated into formal models: The theory of mental models (Johnson-Laird, P. N., & Byrne, R. M. J. (2002). Conditionals: a theory of meaning, pragmatics, and inference. Psychological Review, 109, 646-678), the suppositional theory (Evans, J. S. B. T., & Over, D. E. (2004). If. Oxford: Oxford University Press), a dual-process variant of the model theory (Verschueren, N., Schaeken, W., & d'Ydewalle, G. (2005). A dual-process specification of causal conditional reasoning. Thinking & Reasoning, 11, 278-293), and the probabilistic theory (Oaksford, M., Chater, N., & Larkin, J. (2000). Probabilities and polarity biases in conditional inference. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 26, 883-899). The first three theories are formalized as multinomial models. The models are applied to the frequencies of patterns of acceptance or rejection across the four basic inferences modus ponens, acceptance of the consequent, denial of the antecedent, and modus tollens. Model fits are assessed for two large data sets, one representing reasoning with abstract, basic conditionals, the other reflecting reasoning with pseudo-realistic causal and non-causal conditionals. The best account of the data was provided by a modified version of the mental-model theory, augmented by directionality, and by the dual-process model.

Abstract

The four dominant theories of reasoning from conditionals are translated into formal models: The theory of mental models (Johnson-Laird, P. N., & Byrne, R. M. J. (2002). Conditionals: a theory of meaning, pragmatics, and inference. Psychological Review, 109, 646-678), the suppositional theory (Evans, J. S. B. T., & Over, D. E. (2004). If. Oxford: Oxford University Press), a dual-process variant of the model theory (Verschueren, N., Schaeken, W., & d'Ydewalle, G. (2005). A dual-process specification of causal conditional reasoning. Thinking & Reasoning, 11, 278-293), and the probabilistic theory (Oaksford, M., Chater, N., & Larkin, J. (2000). Probabilities and polarity biases in conditional inference. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 26, 883-899). The first three theories are formalized as multinomial models. The models are applied to the frequencies of patterns of acceptance or rejection across the four basic inferences modus ponens, acceptance of the consequent, denial of the antecedent, and modus tollens. Model fits are assessed for two large data sets, one representing reasoning with abstract, basic conditionals, the other reflecting reasoning with pseudo-realistic causal and non-causal conditionals. The best account of the data was provided by a modified version of the mental-model theory, augmented by directionality, and by the dual-process model.

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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:2006
Deposited On:08 Jul 2014 12:37
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:57
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0010-0285
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogpsych.2006.04.001

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