Dual-goal facilitation in Wason's 2–4–6 task: what mediates successful rule discovery?

Journal article


Gale, Maggie and Ball, Linden J. 2006. Dual-goal facilitation in Wason's 2–4–6 task: what mediates successful rule discovery? The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1080/02724980543000051
AuthorsGale, Maggie and Ball, Linden J.
Abstract

The standard 2-4-6 task requires discovery of a single rule and produces success rates of about 20%, whereas the dual-goal (DG) version requests discovery of two complementary rules and elevates success to over 60%. The experiment examined two explanations of DG superiority: Evans' (1989) positivity-bias account, and Wharton, Cheng, and Wickens' (1993) goal-complementarity theory. Two DG conditions were employed that varied the linguistic labelling of rules (either positively labelled Dax vs. Med, or mixed-valence "fits" vs. "does not fit"). Solution-success results supported the goal-complementarity theory since facilitation arose in both DG conditions relative to single-goal tasks, irrespective of the linguistic labelling of hypotheses. DG instructions also altered quantitative and qualitative aspects of hypothesis-testing behaviour, and analyses revealed the novel result that the production of at least a single descending triple mediates between DG instructions and task success. We propose that the identification of an appropriate contrast class that delimits the scope of complementary rules may be facilitated through the generation of a descending instance. Overall, our findings can best be accommodated by Oaksford and Chater's (1994) iterative counterfactual model of hypotheses testing, which can readily subsume key elements of the goal-complementarity theory.

KeywordsRule discovery; Contrast class cues
Year2006
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
ISSN1747-0218
1747-0226
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/02724980543000051
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/324931
hdl:10545/324931
Publication dates2006
Publication process dates
Deposited18 Aug 2014, 14:10
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Archived with thanks to The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology

ContributorsUniversity of Derby
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