Behavioral Experiments for Assessing the Abstract Argumentation Semantics of Reinstatement

Cognitive Science 34 (8):1483-1502 (2010)
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Argumentation is a very fertile area of research in Artificial Intelligence, and various semantics have been developed to predict when an argument can be accepted, depending on the abstract structure of its defeaters and defenders. When these semantics make conflicting predictions, theoretical arbitration typically relies on ad hoc examples and normative intuition about what prediction ought to be the correct one. We advocate a complementary, descriptive-experimental method, based on the collection of behavioral data about the way human reasoners handle these critical cases. We report two studies applying this method to the case of reinstatement (both in its simple and floating forms). Results speak for the cognitive plausibility of reinstatement and yet show that it does not yield the full expected recovery of the attacked argument. Furthermore, results show that floating reinstatement yields comparable effects to that of simple reinstatement, thus arguing in favor of preferred argumentation semantics, rather than grounded argumentation semantics. Besides their theoretical value for validating and inspiring argumentation semantics, these results have applied value for developing artificial agents meant to argue with human users



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