X-2017-01: The Suppression Task Revisited

X-2017-01: Trehan, Vidhi and Laloi, Aude and van Hoolwerff, Richard and Borensztajn, Gideon and Moas, Gal (2005) The Suppression Task Revisited. [Report]

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Abstract

The apparent inconsistency of subjects’ answers in logical reasoning tasks, along with the fact that these answers do not comply with those predicted by classical logic, has been used to argue that human reasoning can not be described adequately by any logical formalism. In particular, Byrne devised a logical experiment, the suppression task, in which subjects seem to suppress valid logic inferences when additional premisses are added. She concludes that human reasoning is governed by the mental models theory of Johnson-Laird. However, closer analysis of the suppression task reveals subtle differences between the logical forms of the subtasks, which were presumed to be equivalent. A Closed World Reasoning (CWR) interpretation may account for the perceived suppression patterns. Byrne’s experimental design restricted the permitted answers to a fixed set. This set excluded a possible interpretation of the premise which we call “strengthening”, and thus may have distorted her results on suppression. The current research replicated Byrne’s experiment, but allowed for open answers. Most of the subjects’ answering patterns were found to match those predicted by CWR with strengthening.

Item Type: Report
Report Nr: X-2017-01
Series Name: Technical Notes (X) Series
Year: 2005
Additional Information: Final paper for the course Rationality, Cognition and Reasoning by Michiel van Lambalgen
Subjects: Cognition
Logic
Philosophy
Depositing User: Peter van Ormondt
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2017 16:41
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2017 17:10
URI: https://eprints.illc.uva.nl/id/eprint/1529

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