One hundred and three participants solved conflict and non-conflict versions of four reasoning tasks using a two-response procedure: a base rate task, a causal reasoning task, a denominator neglect task, and a categorical syllogisms task. Participants were asked to give their first, intuitive answer, to make a Feeling of Rightness judgment, and then were given as much time as needed to rethink their answer. They also completed a standardized measure of IQ and the actively open-minded thinking questionnaire. The FORs of (...) both high- and low-capacity reasoners were responsive to conflict, such that FORs were lower for conflict relative to non-conflict problems. Consistent with the quantity hypothesis, high-capacity reasoners made a greater distinction between conflict and non-conflict items on measures of Type 2 thinking, namely, rethinking time and probability of changing answers. In contrast to the quality hypothesis, however, this rethinking time did not advantage the ability of the high-capacity group to produce normative answers, except for the base rate task. Indeed, we observed that the correlation between capacity and the probability of normative answers emerged at the initial response, rather than after rethinking. (shrink)
Although widely studied in other domains, relatively little is known about the metacognitive processes that monitor and control behaviour during reasoning and decision-making. In this paper, we examined the conditions under which two fluency cues are used to monitor initial reasoning: answer fluency, or the speed with which the initial, intuitive answer is produced, and perceptual fluency, or the ease with which problems can be read. The first two experiments demonstrated that answer fluency reliably predicted Feeling of Rightness judgments to (...) conditional inferences and base rate problems, which subsequently predicted the amount of deliberate processing as measured by thinking time and answer changes; answer fluency also predicted retrospective confidence judgments. Moreover, the effect of answer fluency on reasoning was independent from the effect of perceptual fluency, establishing that these are empirically independent constructs. In five experiments with a variety of reasoning problems similar to those of Alter et al., we found no effect of perceptual fluency on FOR, retrospective confidence or accuracy; however, we did observe that participants spent more time thinking about hard to read stimuli, although this additional time did not result in answer changes. In our final two experiments, we found that perceptual disfluency increased accuracy on the CRT, but only amongst participants of high cognitive ability. As Alter et al.’s samples were gathered from prestigious universities, collectively, the data to this point suggest that perceptual fluency prompts additional processing in general, but this processing may results in higher accuracy only for the most cognitively able. (shrink)
A major challenge for Dual Process Theories of reasoning is to predict the circumstances under which intuitive answers reached on the basis of Type 1 processing are kept or discarded in favour of analytic, Type 2 processing (Thompson 2009 ). We propose that a key determinant of the probability that Type 2 processes intervene is the affective response that accompanies Type 1 processing. This affective response arises from the fluency with which the initial answer is produced, such that fluently produced (...) answers give rise to a strong feeling of rightness. This feeling of rightness, in turn, determines the extent and probability with which Type 2 processes will be engaged. Because many of the intuitions produced by Type 1 processes are fluent, it is common for them to be accompanied by a strong sense of rightness. However, because fluency is poorly calibrated to objective difficulty, confidently held intuitions may form the basis of poor quality decisions. (shrink)
Prior research shows that reasoners' confidence is poorly calibrated (Shynkaruk & Thompson, 2006). The goal of the current experiment was to increase calibration in syllogistic reasoning by training reasoners on (a) the concept of logical necessity and (b) the idea that more than one representation of the premises may be possible. Training improved accuracy and was also effective in remedying some systematic misunderstandings about the task: those in the training condition were better at estimating their overall performance than those who (...) were untrained. However, training was less successful in helping reasoners to discriminate which items are most likely to cause them difficulties. In addition we explored other variables that may affect confidence and accuracy, such as the number of models required to represent the problem and whether or not the presented conclusion was necessitated by the premises, possible given the premises, or impossible given the premises. These variables had systematically different relationships to confidence and accuracy. Thus, we propose that confidence in reasoning judgements is analogous to confidence in memory retrievals, in that they are inferentially derived from cues that are not diagnostic in terms of accuracy. (shrink)
We tested the hypothesis that choices determined by Type 1 processes are compelling because they are fluent, and for this reason they are less subject to analytic thinking than other answers. A total of 104 participants completed a modified version of Wason's selection task wherein they made decisions about one card at a time using a two-response paradigm. In this paradigm participants gave a fast, intuitive response, rated their feeling of rightness for that response, and were then allowed free time (...) to reconsider their answers. As we predicted, answers consistent with a matching heuristic were made more quickly than other answers, were given higher FOR ratings, and received less subsequent analysis as measured by rethinking time and the probability of changing answers. These data suggest that reasoning biases may be compelling because they are fluently generated; this is turn creates a strong FOR, which acts as a signal that further analysis is not necessary. (shrink)
In two experiments we tested the hypothesis that the mechanisms that produce belief bias generalise across reasoning tasks. In formal reasoning (i.e., syllogisms) judgements of validity are influenced by actual validity, believability of the conclusions, and an interaction between the two. Although apparently analogous effects of belief and argument strength have been observed in informal reasoning, the design of those studies does not permit an analysis of the interaction effect. In the present studies we redesigned two informal reasoning tasks: the (...) Argument Evaluation Task (AET) and a Law of Large Numbers (LLN) task in order to test the similarity of the phenomena concerned. Our findings provide little support for the idea that belief bias on formal and informal reasoning is a unitary phenomenon. First, there was no correlation across individuals in the extent of belief bias shown on the three tasks. Second, evidence for belief by strength interaction was observed only on AET and under conditions not required for the comparable finding on syllogistic reasoning. Finally, we found that while conclusion believability strongly influenced assessments of arguments strength, it had a relatively weak influence on the verbal justifications offered on the two informal reasoning tasks. (shrink)
Recent research (e.g., Evans & Over, 2004) has provided support for the hypothesis that people evaluate the probability of conditional statements of the form if p then q as the conditional probability of q given p , P( q / p ). The present paper extends this approach to pragmatic conditionals in the form of inducements (i.e., promises and threats) and advice (i.e., tips and warnings). In so doing, we demonstrate a distinction between the truth status of these conditionals and (...) their effectiveness as speech acts. Specifically, while probability judgements of the truth of conditional inducements and advice are highly correlated with estimates of P( q / p ), their perceived effectiveness in changing behaviour instead varies as a function of the conditional probability of q given not-p , P( q / ∼p ). Finally, we show that the conditional probability approach can be extended to predicting inference rates on a conditional reasoning task. (shrink)
In two experiments, we investigated how people interpret and reason with realistic conditionals in the form of inducements (i.e., promises and threats) and advice (i.e., tips and warnings). We found that inducements and advice differed with respect to the degree to which the speaker was perceived to have (a) control over the consequent, (b) a stake in the outcome, and (c) an obligation to ensure that the outcome occurs. Inducements and advice also differed with respect to perceived sufficiency and necessity, (...) as well as the degree to which these statements were perceived to be effective in changing the behaviour described in the antecedent of the conditional. Multiple regression analyses indicated that perceived control over the consequent, necessity, and sufficiency emerged as the best predictors of (a) the degree to which statements were perceived to be effective in changing the behaviour of the addressee, and (b) inference patterns on a conditional arguments task. (shrink)
Using normative correctness as a diagnostic tool reduces the outcome of complex cognitive functions to a binary classification (normative or non-normative). It also focuses attention on outcomes, rather than processes, impeding the development of good cognitive theories. Given that both normative and non-normative responses may be produced by the same process, normativity is a poor indicator of underlying processes.
In this reply, we provide an analysis of Alter et al. response to our earlier paper. In that paper, we reported difficulty in replicating Alter, Oppenheimer, Epley, and Eyre’s main finding, namely that a sense of disfluency produced by making stimuli difficult to perceive, increased accuracy on a variety of reasoning tasks. Alter, Oppenheimer, and Epley argue that we misunderstood the meaning of accuracy on these tasks, a claim that we reject. We argue and provide evidence that the tasks were (...) not too difficult for our populations and point out that in many cases performance on our tasks was well above chance or on a par with Alter et al.’s participants. Finally, we reiterate our claim that the distinction between answer fluency and perceptual fluency is genuine, and argue that Thompson et al. provided evidence that these are distinct factors that have different downstream effects on cognitive processes. (shrink)
De Neys proposed a “switch” model to address what he argued to be lacuna in dual-process theory, in which he theorized about the processes that initiate and terminate analytic thinking. We will argue that the author neglected to acknowledge the abundant literature on metacognitive functions, specifically, the meta-reasoning framework developed by Ackerman and Thompson (2017), that addresses just those questions.
Three experiments investigated reasoners' beliefs about causal powers; that is, their beliefs about the capacity of a putative cause to produce a given effect. Covariation-based theories (e.g., Cheng, 1997; Kelley, 1973; Novick & Cheng, 2004) posit that beliefs in causal power are represented in terms of the degree of covariation between the cause and its effect; covariation is defined in terms of the degree to which the effect occurs in the presence of the cause, and fails tooccur in the absence (...) of the cause. To test the degree to which beliefs incausal power are reflected in beliefs about covariation information, participants in three experiments rated their beliefs that putative causes have the capacity to produce a given effect (i.e., possess the causal power to produce an effect) as well as their beliefs regarding the degree to which the putative cause and effectcovary. A strong positive correlation was discovered between participants' beliefs in causal power and their beliefs that the effect occurs in the presence of the cause. However, no direct relationship was found between participants' beliefs in causal power and their belief that the effect will fail tooccur in the absence of the cause. These findings were replicated using bothwithin- (Experiments 1 and 3) and between-subject designs (Experiment 2). In Experiment 3, we extended these analyses to measures of familiarity, imageability, and detailedness of the representation. We found that participants' beliefs in causal power were strongly associated with familiarity, and imageability, but not the perceived detailedness of the cause and effect relationship. These data provide support for a multidimensional account of causal knowledge whereby people's representations of causation include, but are not limited to, the covariation, familiarity, and imageability of cause and effect relationships. (shrink)