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ERIC Number: EJ982508
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0749-596X
How Pragmatic Interpretations Arise from Conditionals: Profiling the Affirmation of the Consequent Argument with Reaction Time and EEG Measures
Bonnefond, Mathilde; Van der Henst, Jean-Baptiste; Gougain, Marion; Robic, Suzanne; Olsen, Matthew D.; Weiss, Oshri; Noveck, Ira
Journal of Memory and Language, v67 n4 p468-485 Nov 2012
Conditional reasoning consists in combining a conditional premise with a categorical premise and inferring a conclusion from them. Two well-known conditional arguments are Modus Ponens (MP: "If P then Q; P//"therefore Q), which is logically valid and Affirmation of the Consequent (AC: "If P then Q; Q//"therefore "P"), which is not. The latter is often accepted as true on pragmatic grounds under the generally accepted assumption that the conditional premise is transformed so as to justify a biconditional reading ("p if-and-only-if q"). We present results from two experiments--one using self-paced measures and the other electroencephalography (EEG)--while comparing participants' evaluations of MP and AC arguments. Based on prior work, we anticipated finding two types of individuals as a function of their endorsing or rejecting AC arguments. The self-paced task (Experiment 1) shows that "Rejecters" of AC arguments are linked to especially long response times with respect to "Endorsers" and, critically, shows that AC argument's minor premise prompts slowdowns among all participants compared to MP's. The EEG study (Experiment 2) reveals that the minor premise in AC arguments prompts both Rejecters and Endorsers to produce an N200 wave, which the literature associates with a violation of expectations. These findings suggest that the second premise of AC arguments arrives unexpectedly even among those who are ultimately Endorsers. We describe how these findings impact the conditional reasoning literature. (Contains 1 table and 4 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A