Publication Date

5-23-2013

Advisor(s)

Barbara Juhasz

Major

Psychology

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

The current study used eye movements to investigate the cognitive processes underlying deductive reasoning. Connections were made between eye-tracking research on problem-solving and existing accounts of deductive reasoning. Eighteen college students solved conditional reasoning problems using three valid inference rules from propositional logic: modus ponens, modus tollens, and hypothetical syllogism. Their eye movements during the task were analyzed for insights toward the nature of the deductive reasoning process: specifically, whether it is driven by mental models or syntax-based, domain-independent inference rules. Findings suggest that the reversal of propositional terms between modus ponens and modus tollens problems had a significant effect on the accuracy of participants' responses. Despite this, general eye movement patterns during those two problem types remained similar. These findings offer potential evidence toward the mental model account of reasoning.

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