Do people reason on the Wason selection task?:A new look at the data of Ball et al. (2003)

Evans, Jonathan St. B. T. and Ball, Linden J. (2010) Do people reason on the Wason selection task?:A new look at the data of Ball et al. (2003). The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63 (3). pp. 434-441. ISSN 1747-0218

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Despite the popularity of the Wason selection task in the psychology of reasoning, doubt remains as to whether card choices actually reflect a process of reasoning. One view is that while participants reason about the cards and their hidden sidesas indicated by protocol analysisthis reasoning merely confabulates explanations for cards that were preconsciously cued. This hypothesis has apparently been supported by studies that show that participants predominantly inspect cards which they end up selecting. In this paper, we reanalyse the data of one such study, which used eye-movement tracking to record card inspection times (Ball, Lucas, Miles, Gale, 2003). We show that while cards favoured by matching bias are inspected for roughly equal lengths of times, their selection rates are strongly affected by their logical status. These findings strongly support a two-stage account in which attention is necessary but not sufficient for card selections. Hence, reasoning does indeed affect participants' choices on this task.

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Journal Article
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The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
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16 Dec 2011 11:04
Last Modified:
21 Nov 2022 21:59