THOG: The anatomy of a problem

University College London
Psychological Research (Impact Factor: 2.47). 01/1979; 41(1):79-90. DOI: 10.1007/BF00309425


Three experiments are reported on the attempts to solve a novel hypothetico-deductive problem. Its solution demands both the postulation of hypotheses about its structure and a combinatorial analysis upon the consequences of these hypotheses. The majority of subjects (students) failed to solve the problem because they argued from the properties of stimuli rather than from hypotheses about their conceptual status. The results suggest that a familiarity with the logical structure of the problem and the elicitation of appropriate hypotheses failed to correct this intuitive approach. These findings are discussed in relation to Piaget's theory of formal operations, and (very tentatively) in relation to habitual styles of thought.

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    • "Once this essay was evaluated, participants played two distractor games while the experimenter left the room (the participant believed to collect the opponent's evaluation). The Wason Card Selection task (Wason, 1968) and the THOG task (Wason and Brooks, 1979) were used as distractors in order to make the aims of the study less obvious to participants. Performance in these tasks was not analysed further. "
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the prevalence of studies examining economic decision-making as a purely rational phenomenon, common sense suggests that emotions affect our decision-making particularly in a social context. To explore the influence of emotions on economic decision-making, we manipulated opponent-directed emotions prior to engaging participants in two social exchange decision-making games (the Trust Game and the Prisoner's Dilemma). Participants played both games with three different (fictional) partners and their tendency to defect was measured. Prior to playing each game, participants exchanged handwritten "essays" with their partners, and subsequently exchanged evaluations of each essay. The essays and evaluations, read by the participant, were designed to induce either anger, sympathy, or a neutral emotional response toward the confederate with whom they would then play the social exchange games. Galvanic skin conductance level (SCL) showed enhanced physiological arousal during anger induction compared to both the neutral and sympathy conditions. In both social exchange games, participants were most likely to defect against their partner after anger induction and least likely to defect after sympathy induction, with the neutral condition eliciting intermediate defection rates. This pattern was found to be strongest in participants exhibiting low cognitive control (as measured by a Go/no-Go task). The findings indicate that emotions felt toward another individual alter how one chooses to interact with them, and that this influence depends both on the specific emotion induced and the cognitive control of the individual.
    Frontiers in Psychology 07/2013; 4:469. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00469 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "Though useful, 'or', that small innocuous-seeming word, also lies at the root of many a fallacy, illusion and paradox of reasoning and decision-making. It is much more difficult to learn disjunctive concepts and definitions (Bruner, Goodnow, & Austin, 1956; Wason & Brooks, 1979); reasoners are at a loss to make decisions when they face disjunctive events (Tversky & Shafir, 1992); and probabilities of disjunctive statements add up to too much or too little (Tversky & Koehler, 1994). Many notoriously difficult inferences have disjunctive structure: model theory's illusory inferences (Johnson-Laird & Savary, 1999); hypothetical thinking theory's collapse illusion (Elqayam, 2005); paradoxes of decision theory (Allais, 1953; Ellsberg, 1961). "
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    ABSTRACT: We present a suppositional theory of disjunctive reasoning that proposes that 'either-or', like 'if', triggers hypothetical thinking. However, disjunctions are more complex as they require the reasoner to consider two hypotheses, violating the singularity principle. Hence one of the disjuncts becomes focal – the first one in the absence of conversational cues. As predicted, participants presented with disjunctive statements and asked to fill in a 6x6 grid with verifying combinations, tended to overrepresent TF cases. The results are discussed in terms of dual processing theories of reasoning and decision making.
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