PSYC 2040 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Hypothesis, Wason Selection Task, Inductive Reasoning
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•Inferring specific instances from general principles
•An argument describing the relations between categories of
–Premise 1: All A are B All VWs are reliable.
–Premise 2: C is an A The Beetle is a VW.
–Conclusion: C is B The Beetle is reliable.
•An argument describing the conditional relations between
–Premise 1: If P then Q If it is a VW, then it is
–Premise 2: P is true The Beetle is a VW.
–Conclusion: Q is true The Beetle is reliable.
Errors in Deductive Reasoning
•Social Contract Theory (Tooby & Cosmides)
oEvolutionary selection pressures have equipped us with a “cheater
detection mechanism”—an innate set of inferential rules that help us
to detect the violation of social contracts
oEvidence: Wason Selection Task performance improves when the task
is framed in terms of contract violation
•Inferring general principles from specific instances
oGeneral Induction: known instances → *all* instances
oSpecific Induction: some instances → other instances
oHypothesis—a proposition that can be evaluated or tested by gathering
evidence to support or refute it
oNo inductive process can ever be certain: we cannot know all the
instances that may exist, any one of which may disprove the
Errors in Inductive Reasoning
oThe disinclination to seek evidence that would indicate whether a
hypothesis is false
oE.g., the Wason 2–4–6 Task
•Participant’s goal: Discover the rule
•“Even numbers increasing by two:” e.g., 8–10–12
•“Any set of numbers increasing by two:” e.g., 7–9–11
•Participants then switch from confirm to disconfirm, and soon
discover the surprisingly simple rule: “Numbers of increasing
•A special kind of inductive reasoning; the process of applying knowledge from
domain (“the source”) to another domain (“the target”).