Thinking and Reasoning 5 (2):115 – 144 (1999)

Oaksford and Chater (1994) proposed to analyse the Wason selection task as an inductive instead of a deductive task. Applying Bayesian statistics, they concluded that the cards that participants tend to select are those with the highest expected information gain. Therefore, their choices seem rational from the perspective of optimal data selection. We tested a central prediction from the theory in three experiments: card selection frequencies should be sensitive to the subjective probability of occurrence for individual cards. In Experiment 1, expected frequencies of the p- and the q-card were manipulated independently by concepts referring to large vs. small sets. Although the manipulation had an effect on card selection frequencies, there was only a weak correlation between the predicted and the observed patterns. In the second experiment, relative frequencies of individual cards were manipulated more directly by explicit frequency information. In addition, participants estimated probabilities for the four logical cases and of the conditional statement itself. The experimental manipulations strongly affected the probability estimates, but were completely unrelated to card selections. This result was replicated in a third experiment. We conclude that our data provide little support for optimal data selection theory.
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DOI 10.1080/135467899394020
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References found in this work BETA

Reasoning.Peter C. Wason - 1966 - In B. Foss (ed.), New Horizons in Psychology. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 135-151.
Rationality in Reasoning: The Problem of Deductive Competence.Jonathan Evans & David E. Over - unknown - Current Psychology of Cognition 16 (1-2):3-38.
Pragmatic Reasoning Schemas.Patricia W. Cheng & Keith J. Holyoak - 1985 - Cognitive Psychology 17 (4):391-416.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Probabilistic Approach to Human Reasoning.Mike Oaksford & Nick Chater - 2001 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 5 (8):349-357.
Advancing the Rationality Debate.Keith E. Stanovich & Richard F. West - 2000 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (5):701-717.
The Uncertain Reasoner: Bayes, Logic, and Rationality.Mike Oaksford & Nick Chater - 2009 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (1):105-120.

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