Inept reasoners or pragmatic virtuosos? Relevance and the deontic selection task

Abstract : Most individuals fail the selection task, selecting P and Q cases, when they have to test descriptive rules of the form “If P, then Q”. But they solve it, selecting P and not-Q cases, when they have to test deontic rules of the form “If P, then must Q”. According to relevance theory, linguistic comprehension processes determine intuitions of relevance that, in turn, determine case selections in both descriptive and deontic problems. We tested the relevance theory predictions in a within-participants experiment. The results showed that the same rule, regardless of whether it is tested descriptively or deontically, can be made to yield more P and Q selections or more P and not-Q selections. We conclude that the selection task does not provide a tool to test general claims about human reasoning.
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Cognition, Elsevier, 2001, 81, pp.B69-B76
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Contributeur : Dan Sperber <>
Soumis le : samedi 13 juillet 2002 - 11:35:33
Dernière modification le : mardi 24 avril 2018 - 17:20:08

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Vittorio Girotto, Markus Kemmelmeir, Dan Sperber, Jean-Baptiste Van Der Henst. Inept reasoners or pragmatic virtuosos? Relevance and the deontic selection task. Cognition, Elsevier, 2001, 81, pp.B69-B76. 〈ijn_00000100〉

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