Inferential reasoning by exclusion in children (Homo Sapiens)

Hill, Andrew, Collier-Baker, Emma and Suddendorf, Thomas (2012) Inferential reasoning by exclusion in children (Homo Sapiens). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 126 3: 243-254. doi:10.1037/a0024449

Author Hill, Andrew
Collier-Baker, Emma
Suddendorf, Thomas
Title Inferential reasoning by exclusion in children (Homo Sapiens)
Formatted title
Inferential reasoning by exclusion in children (Homo Sapiens)
Journal name Journal of Comparative Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0735-7036
Publication date 2012-08-01
Year available 2011
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1037/a0024449
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 126
Issue 3
Start page 243
End page 254
Total pages 13
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher American Psychological Association
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The cups task is the most widely adopted forced-choice paradigm for comparative studies of inferential reasoning by exclusion. In this task, subjects are presented with two cups, one of which has been surreptitiously baited. When the empty cup is shaken or its interior shown, it is possible to infer by exclusion that the alternative cup contains the reward. The present study extends the existing body of comparative work to include human children ( Homo sapiens ). Like chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes ) that were tested with the same equipment and near-identical procedures, children aged three to five made apparent inferences using both visual and auditory information, although the youngest children showed the least-developed ability in the auditory modality. However, unlike chimpanzees, children of all ages used causally irrelevant information in a control test designed to examine the possibility that their apparent auditory inferences were the product of contingency learning (the duplicate cups test ). Nevertheless, the children's ability to reason by exclusion was corroborated by their performance on a novel verbal disjunctive syllogism test , and we found preliminary evidence consistent with the suggestion that children used their causal-logical understanding to reason by exclusion in the cups task , but subsequently treated the duplicate cups information as symbolic or communicative, rather than causal. Implications for future comparative research are discussed.
Keyword Inference
Cups task
Symbolic understanding
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Advance online publication July 2011.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Created: Thu, 22 Sep 2011, 02:58:09 EST by Mr Andrew Hill on behalf of School of Psychology