The theory of mental models predicts that the difficulty of deductive reasoning should depend in part on the order of processing the premises. Those orders that call for an initial construction of multiple models should be harder than those that call for an initial construction of only one model that can be merely updated from subsequent premises. Experiment 1 demonstrated effects of order in the evaluation of given conclusions, and it eliminated potential confounds, including the coherence of the sequence of clauses in the premises. Experiment 2 corroborated the prediction in a more complex task in which the participants drew conclusions for themselves. Order affected both the times they took to read the premises and the accuracy of their conclusions. The paper discusses the results in the light of current theories of reasoning.
R. Mackiewicz, Szkola Wyzsza Psychologii Spolecznej, ul. Chodakowska 19/31, 03-815 Warszawa, Poland
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