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Eye-Movements and Reasoning: Evidence for Relevance Effects and Rationalisation Processes in Deontic Selection Tasks.

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Publication date2005
Host publicationProceedings of the Twenty-Seventh Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
EditorsB. G. Bara, L. Barsalou, M. Bucciarelli
Place of PublicationAlpha, New Jersey
PublisherSheridan Printing
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Evans’ (e.g., 1996) Heuristic-Analytic theory of reasoning in Wason’s selection task proposes the existence of implicit processes that direct attention to ‘relevant’ aspects of the problem and thereby determine card selections. This account also proposes that people pursue explicit rationalisations of relevance-determined choices. Our recent studies (e.g., Ball et al., 2003) have measured aspects of on-line attentional processing using eye-movement tracking and have supported the idea that card selections are driven by relevance and then subjected to rationalisation processes. For example, eyemovement data have revealed a reliable inspection-time imbalance between selected and non-selected cards. Our results, to date, however, have related to selection tasks with indicative contents. Here we report an eye-tracking study that involved deontic selection tasks. Various eye-movement measures revealed predicted differences in inspection times between selected and non-selected cards, with the magnitude of the effect being similar to that observed in studies of the indicative task. We discuss our results in relation to current theories of processing in the selection task.