Title

Illogical Processing Versus Memory Overload as Explanations for Set Inclusion Difficulties in Reasoning From Prose

ISBN or ISSN

1061-6799

Volume

5

Publication Date / Copyright Date

1990

First Page

11

Last Page

20

Publisher

Fairleigh Dickinson University

Abstract

This experiment was designed to access whether participants' difficulties with set inclusion relations are due to errors in logical processing or due to memory overload and retrieval problems. Based on Griggs' (1978) theory of faulty logical processing, it was hypothesized that there would be no significant difference between participants' performance in "paragraph present" and "paragraph absent" conditions. It was also predicted that the proportion of correct responses would be decreasing function of step-size on true statements while proportion correct for false statements would be increasing function of step-size. College undergraduates (N = 21), who were knowledgeable about the hypotheses and design, were presented with 4 different paragraphs of fictional prose and 20 true/false questions for each passage. Participants in the paragraph present condition were able to see the paragraph as they answered questions on it while participants in the paragraph absent condition relied on long-term memory of the passage. As expected, there was no reliable difference between mean proportion and the 2 conditions. The predicted, significant increases in step-size function for false statements was found in both conditions. The hypothesis that the proportion correct on true sentences would decrease with increasing step-size was not supported. Results are discussed in light of Griggs' (1976) findings regarding the effect of special instructions on error profiles for true sentences.

Disciplines

Medicine and Health Sciences

Keywords

Logical Processing, Memory Overload, Retrieval Problems, Faulty Logical Processing, Paragraph Absent, Paragraph Present, Undergraduates

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