University of Surrey

Test tubes in the lab Research in the ATI Dance Research

Preferences for different questions when testing hypotheses in an abstract task: positivity does play a role, asymmetry does not.

Cherubini, P, Rusconi, P, Russo, S, Di Bari, S and Sacchi, S (2010) Preferences for different questions when testing hypotheses in an abstract task: positivity does play a role, asymmetry does not. Acta Psychol (Amst), 134 (2). pp. 162-174.

[img]
Preview
Text
Cherubini et al_2010_postprint.pdf
Available under License : See the attached licence file.

Download (305kB) | Preview
[img]
Preview
Text (licence)
SRI_deposit_agreement.pdf
Available under License : See the attached licence file.

Download (33kB) | Preview

Abstract

Previous studies on hypothesis-testing behaviour have reported systematic preferences for posing positive questions (i.e., inquiries about features that are consistent with the truth of the hypothesis) and different types of asymmetric questions (i.e., questions where the hypothesis confirming and the hypothesis disconfirming responses have different evidential strength). Both tendencies can contribute - in some circumstances - to confirmation biases (i.e., the improper acceptance or maintenance of an incorrect hypothesis). The empirical support for asymmetric testing is, however, scarce and partly contradictory, and the relative strength of positive testing and asymmetric testing has not been empirically compared. In four studies where subjects were asked to select (Experiment 1) or evaluate (Experiments 2-4) questions for controlling an abstract hypothesis, we orthogonally balanced the positivity/negativity of questions by their symmetry/asymmetry (Experiments 1-3), or by the type of asymmetry (confirmatory vs disconfirmatory; Experiment 4). In all Experiments participants strongly preferred positive to negative questions. Their choices were on the other hand mostly unaffected by symmetry and asymmetry in general, or - more specifically - by different types of asymmetry. Other results indicated that participants were sensitive to the diagnosticity of the questions (Experiments 1-3), and that they preferred testing features with a high probability under the focal hypothesis (Experiment 4). In the discussion we argue that recourse to asymmetric testing - observed in some previous studies using more contextualized problems - probably depends on context-related motivations and prior knowledge. In abstract tasks, where that knowledge is not available, more simple strategies - such as positive testing - are prevalent.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
AuthorsEmailORCID
Cherubini, PUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Rusconi, PUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Russo, SUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Di Bari, SUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Sacchi, SUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : June 2010
Identification Number : 10.1016/j.actpsy.2010.01.007
Uncontrolled Keywords : Adolescent, Adult, Cognition, Concept Formation, Female, Humans, Male, Probability Learning, Problem Solving, Psychological Tests, Young Adult
Related URLs :
Additional Information : Copyright 2010, Elsevier. Posted here under a CC-BY-NC-ND license.
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 25 Jun 2015 10:37
Last Modified : 25 Jun 2015 10:37
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/807820

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year


Information about this web site

© The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.
+44 (0)1483 300800