From falsification to generating an alternative hypothesis: Exploring the role of the new-perspective hypothesis in successful 2-4-6 task performance
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.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 2011