A CHEATER-DETECTION MODULE? DUBIOUS INTERPRETATIONS OF THE WASON SELECTION TASK AND LOGIC

Abstract : People usually fail the Wason selection task, choosing P and Q cases, when attempting to validate descriptive rules having the form “If P, then Q.” Yet they solve it, selecting P and not-Q cases, when validating deontic rules of the form “If P, then must Q.” The field of evolutionary psychology has overwhelmingly interpreted deontic versions of the selection task in terms of a naturally-selected, domain-specific social-contract or cheating algorithm. This work has done much to promote evolutionary psychology as an alternative to a mindblind sociobiology that ignores the computational structure of cognitive mechanisms in producing people's behaviors. Nevertheless, evolution-minded researchers outside cognitive psychology know little of the ample literature challenging this interpretation and uncritically cite the “cheater-detection module” as a key insight into human cognition. Although a priori arguments for a specially evolved cheater-detection module are plausible, the selection task provides no direct evidence for such a module.
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https://jeannicod.ccsd.cnrs.fr/ijn_00000130
Contributeur : Scott Atran <>
Soumis le : mercredi 4 septembre 2002 - 13:36:16
Dernière modification le : mardi 24 avril 2018 - 17:20:08
Document(s) archivé(s) le : samedi 3 avril 2010 - 20:10:39

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  • HAL Id : ijn_00000130, version 1

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Scott Atran. A CHEATER-DETECTION MODULE? DUBIOUS INTERPRETATIONS OF THE WASON SELECTION TASK AND LOGIC. Evolution and Cognition, 2001, 7 (2), pp.187-192. 〈ijn_00000130〉

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