ERIC Number: EJ723904
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
The Wording of Conclusions in Relational Reasoning
Van der Henst, Jean-Baptiste; Schaeken, Walter
Cognition, v97 n1 p1-22 Aug 2005
Literature on relational reasoning mainly focuses on the performance question. It is typically argued that problem difficulty relies on the number of ''mental models'' compatible with the problem. However, no study has ever investigated the wording of conclusions that participants formulate. In the present work, we analyze the relational terms that people use in drawing conclusions from spatial relation problems (A is to the left of B, B is to the left C, D is in front of A, E is in front C, What is the relation between D and E?). We observed a general preference for expressing conclusions with "left" rather than conclusions with "right." We also found that three factors had an influence on the wording of the conclusions: the linguistic form of premises, the question type and the presentation format. On the other hand, the number of models and premise order did not affect the wording of conclusions. Our study shows that the type of conclusion produced provides a new key to identifying the mental processes involved in spatial reasoning. Implications for the two main approaches to reasoning processes (i.e. the analogical and the propositional approaches) are discussed.
Descriptors: Thinking Skills, Logical Thinking, Abstract Reasoning, Spatial Ability, Inferences, Word Order, Cognitive Processes, Foreign Countries, Models
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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Identifiers - Location: France