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Working memory, metacognitive uncertainty, and belief bias in syllogistic reasoning.

Quaye, Jeremy D. and Ball, Linden J. (2000) Working memory, metacognitive uncertainty, and belief bias in syllogistic reasoning. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Series a Human Experimental Psychology, 53A (4). pp. 1202-1223. ISSN 0272-4987

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Abstract

Studies of syllogistic reasoning have shown that the size of the belief bias effect varies with manipulations of logical validity and problem form.This paper presents amental models-based account,which explains these ®ndings in terms of variations in the working-memory demands of different problem types.We propose that belief bias may re¯ect the use of a heuristic that is applied when a threshold of uncertainty in one’s processing Ðattributable to working-memory overloadÐ is exceeded during reasoning. Three experiments are reported, which tested predictions deriving from this account. In Experiment 1, conclusions of neutral believability were presented for evaluation, and a predicted dissociation was observed in con®dence ratings for responses to valid and invalid arguments,with participants being more con®dent in the former. In Experiment 2, an attempt to manipulate working-memory loads indirectly by varying syllogistic ®gure failed to produce predicted effects upon the size of the belief bias effect. It is argued that the employment of a conclusion evaluation methodology minimized the effect of the ®gural manipulation in this experiment. In Experiment 3, participants’ articulatory and spatial recall capacities were calibrated as a direct test of working-memory involvement in belief bias. Predicted differences in the pattern of belief bias observed between high and low spatial recall groups supported the view that limited working memory plays a key role in belief bias.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Series a Human Experimental Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Psychology
ID Code: 11144
Deposited By: Dr Linden J. Ball
Deposited On: 01 Aug 2008 16:11
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2012 14:57
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/11144

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