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Durham University



Publication details for Professor David Over

Singmann, H., Klauer, C. & Over, D. E. (2014). New normative standards of conditional reasoning and the dual-source model. Frontiers in Psychology 5: 316.

Author(s) from Durham


There has been a major shift in research on human reasoning toward Bayesian and probabilistic approaches, which has been called a new paradigm. The new paradigm sees most everyday and scientific reasoning as taking place in a context of uncertainty, and inference is from uncertain beliefs and not from arbitrary assumptions. In this manuscript we present an empirical test of normative standards in the new paradigm using a novel probabilized conditional reasoning task. Our results indicated that for everyday conditional with at least a weak causal connection between antecedent and consequent only the conditional probability of the consequent given antecedent contributes unique variance to predicting the probability of conditional, but not the probability of the conjunction, nor the probability of the material conditional. Regarding normative accounts of reasoning, we found significant evidence that participants' responses were confidence preserving (i.e., p-valid in the sense of Adams, 1998) for MP inferences, but not for MT inferences. Additionally, only for MP inferences and to a lesser degree for DA inferences did the rate of responses inside the coherence intervals defined by mental probability logic (Pfeifer and Kleiter, 2005, 2010) exceed chance levels. In contrast to the normative accounts, the dual-source model (Klauer et al., 2010) is a descriptive model. It posits that participants integrate their background knowledge (i.e., the type of information primary to the normative approaches) and their subjective probability that a conclusion is seen as warranted based on its logical form. Model fits showed that the dual-source model, which employed participants' responses to a deductive task with abstract contents to estimate the form-based component, provided as good an account of the data as a model that solely used data from the probabilized conditional reasoning task.

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