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The initial representation in reasoning towards an interpretation of conditional sentences

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Abstract
All accounts of human reasoning (whether presented at the symbolic or subsymbolic level) have to reckon with the temporal organization of the human processing systems and the ephemeral nature of the representations it uses. We present three new empirical tests for the hypothesis that people commence the interpretational process by constructing a minimal initial representation. In the case of if A then C the initial representation captures the occurrence of the consequent, C, within the context of the antecedent, A. Conditional inference problems are created by a categorical premise that affirms or denies A or C. The initial representation allows an inference when the explicitly represented information matches (e.g., the categorical premise A affirms the antecedent oAo) but not when it mismatches (e.g., onot-Ao denies A). Experiments 1 and 2 confirmed that people tend to accept the conclusion that onothing followso for the denial problems, as indeed they do not have a determinate initial-model conclusion. Experiment 3 demonstrated the other way round that the effect of problem type (affirmation versus denial) is reduced when we impede the possibility of inferring a determinate conclusion on the basis of the initial representation of both the affirmation and the denial problems.
Keywords
CRITIQUE, THINKING, NEGATIVES, PRAGMATICS, PROBABILITIES, ILLUSORY INFERENCES, DEDUCTIVE RATIONALITY, Conditionals, Mental-models theory, Satisficing, Representation, Interpretation, If, Initial representation, Reasoning, Deduction, Inference, MENTAL MODELS THEORY

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Chicago
Schroyens, Walter, and Senne Braem. 2011. “The Initial Representation in Reasoning Towards an Interpretation of Conditional Sentences.” Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 64 (2): 339–362.
APA
Schroyens, Walter, & Braem, S. (2011). The initial representation in reasoning towards an interpretation of conditional sentences. QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, 64(2), 339–362.
Vancouver
1.
Schroyens W, Braem S. The initial representation in reasoning towards an interpretation of conditional sentences. QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY. 2011;64(2):339–62.
MLA
Schroyens, Walter, and Senne Braem. “The Initial Representation in Reasoning Towards an Interpretation of Conditional Sentences.” QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY 64.2 (2011): 339–362. Print.
@article{1096379,
  abstract     = {All accounts of human reasoning (whether presented at the symbolic or subsymbolic level) have to reckon with the temporal organization of the human processing systems and the ephemeral nature of the representations it uses. We present three new empirical tests for the hypothesis that people commence the interpretational process by constructing a minimal initial representation. In the case of if A then C the initial representation captures the occurrence of the consequent, C, within the context of the antecedent, A. Conditional inference problems are created by a categorical premise that affirms or denies A or C. The initial representation allows an inference when the explicitly represented information matches (e.g., the categorical premise A affirms the antecedent oAo) but not when it mismatches (e.g., onot-Ao denies A). Experiments 1 and 2 confirmed that people tend to accept the conclusion that onothing followso for the denial problems, as indeed they do not have a determinate initial-model conclusion. Experiment 3 demonstrated the other way round that the effect of problem type (affirmation versus denial) is reduced when we impede the possibility of inferring a determinate conclusion on the basis of the initial representation of both the affirmation and the denial problems.},
  author       = {Schroyens, Walter and Braem, Senne},
  issn         = {1747-0226},
  journal      = {QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY},
  keyword      = {CRITIQUE,THINKING,NEGATIVES,PRAGMATICS,PROBABILITIES,ILLUSORY INFERENCES,DEDUCTIVE RATIONALITY,Conditionals,Mental-models theory,Satisficing,Representation,Interpretation,If,Initial representation,Reasoning,Deduction,Inference,MENTAL MODELS THEORY},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {339--362},
  title        = {The initial representation in reasoning towards an interpretation of conditional sentences},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2010.513734},
  volume       = {64},
  year         = {2011},
}

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