Individual differences and rule discovery: Can the efficiency in the treatment of relations between objects improve the generation of heterogeneous objects?


  • Marzo Magali
  • Caverni Jean-Paul
  • Viallet François

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According to mental model theory, reasoning performance depends on the construction and the manipulation of mental models. This research explored the possibility that interindividual differences in the treatment of relations between objects can influence the generation of alternative models in the Wason's 2-4-6 rule discovery task. We hypothesized that a greater efficiency in the treatment of relations would increase the heterogeneity of triples generated and the rule discovery. We selected field dependence-independence as measure of interindividual differences in the ability to restructure relations between objects. As predicted, field independent participants discovered the rule more frequently, even at the first rule. They also generated a greater variety of triples which do not fit the rule than field dependent participants, while no significant difference was found on hypothesis testing strategies. These results showed that the manipulation of relations between objects is fundamental for the generation of heterogeneous triples and for rule discovery.

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