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From falsification to generating an alternative hypothesis: Exploring the role of the new-perspective hypothesis in successful 2-4-6 task performance

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Abstract:

Previous research has found no consistent relationship between measures of disconfirmatory evidence, alternative hypotheses, and people's success in rule-discovery tasks. The present paper explores falsification's inductive benefit under the “context of discovery” in Wason's 2-4-6 task by developing a new type of alternative hypothesis, which we label the “new-perspective hypothesis”. Experiment 1 found that falsification is effective only when a new-perspective hypothesis is generated, rather than a same-perspective hypothesis. The total number of alternative hypotheses was also unrelated to rule-discovery success. Experiment 2 replicated Experiment 1 but included the addition of a different name-content task as well as two levels of task difficulty. The main findings were similar to those for Experiment 1, and the new-perspective hypothesis was observed to be most important for the difficult rule-discovery task. These results help to clarify the important ways new-perspective hypotheses and disconfirmatory evidence contribute to successful rule-discovery performance.

Keywords: Alternative hypothesis; Disconfirmatory evidence; New-perspective hypothesis; Rule-discovery; Wason's task

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13546783.2011.553466

Affiliations: 1: National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan 2: Fo Guang University, Jiaosi Shiang, Taiwan

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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