Testing hypotheses about mechanical devices

Aidan Feeney, Simon J. Handley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


We use the literature on mechanical reasoning to derive predictions about how people will test a mechanical rule. In the presence of a single rule we predict significantly more selections of tests in which the hypothesized cause is manipulated than in the presence of two rules: the original and one casting doubt on the sufficiency of the hypothesized cause for the effect. We describe an experiment using Wason's selection task that confirms our predictions and go on to discuss the implications of our results for recent work on causal cognition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
EditorsJohanna D. Moore, Keith Stenning
Place of PublicationMahwah, NJ
PublisherLawrence Erlbaum
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)0805841520
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes
EventAnnual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (23rd : 2001) - Edinburgh, Scotland
Duration: 1 Aug 20014 Aug 2001


ConferenceAnnual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (23rd : 2001)
CityEdinburgh, Scotland


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