Deductive and inductive conditional inferences: Two modes of reasoning

Thinking and Reasoning 17 (3):247-281 (2011)
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A number of single- and dual-process theories provide competing explanations as to how reasoners evaluate conditional arguments. Some of these theories are typically linked to different instructions—namely deductive and inductive instructions. To assess whether responses under both instructions can be explained by a single process, or if they reflect two modes of conditional reasoning, we re-analysed four experiments that used both deductive and inductive instructions for conditional inference tasks. Our re-analysis provided evidence consistent with a single process. In two new experiments we established a double dissociation of deductive and inductive instructions when validity and plausibility of conditional problems were pitted against each other. This indicates that at least two processes contribute to conditional reasoning. We conclude that single-process theories of conditional reasoning cannot explain the observed results. Theories that postulate at least two processes are needed to account for our findings.



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