Two experiments were conducted to investigate the roles of covariation and of causality in people's readiness to believe a conditional. The experiments used a probabilistic truth-table task (Oberauer & Wilhelm, 2003) in which people estimated the probability of a conditional given information about the frequency distribution of truth-table cases. For one group of people, belief in the conditional was determined by the conditional probability of the consequent, given the antecedent, whereas for another group it depended on the probability of the (...) conjunction of antecedent and consequent. There was little evidence that covariation, expressed as the probabilistic contrast or as the pCI rule (White, 2003), influences belief in the conditional. The explicit presence of a causal link between antecedent and consequent in a context story had a weak positive effect on belief in a conditional when the frequency distribution of relevant cases was held constant. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Oaksford & Chater (O&C) subscribe to the view that a conditional expresses a high conditional probability of the consequent, given the antecedent, but they model conditionals as expressing a dependency between antecedent and consequent. Therefore, their model is inconsistent with their theoretical commitment. The model is also inconsistent with some findings on how people interpret conditionals and how they reason from them.
The hypothesis of two separate reasoning systems, one subserving individual goals and the other our genes, is theoretically implausible and not supported by the data. As an alternative, I propose a single system for analytical reasoning backed up by simple mechanisms for the selection of relevant information. This system can generate normative behavior as well as systematic deviations from it.
I argue that O'Regan & Noë's (O&N's) theory is in a no better position than any other theory to solve the “hard problem” of consciousness. Getting rid of the explanatory gap by exchanging sensorimotor contingencies for neural representations is an illusion.