Psychological Research

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 79–90

THOG: The anatomy of a problem

  • Peter C. Wason
  • Philip G. Brooks

DOI: 10.1007/BF00309425

Cite this article as:
Wason, P.C. & Brooks, P.G. Psychol. Res (1979) 41: 79. doi:10.1007/BF00309425


Three experiments are reported on the attempts to solve a novel hypothetico-deductive problem. Its solution demands both the postulation of hypotheses about its structure and a combinatorial analysis upon the consequences of these hypotheses. The majority of subjects (students) failed to solve the problem because they argued from the properties of stimuli rather than from hypotheses about their conceptual status. The results suggest that a familiarity with the logical structure of the problem and the elicitation of appropriate hypotheses failed to correct this intuitive approach. These findings are discussed in relation to Piaget's theory of formal operations, and (very tentatively) in relation to habitual styles of thought.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter C. Wason
    • 1
  • Philip G. Brooks
    • 2
  1. 1.Psycholinguistics Research UnitUniversity College LondonEngland
  2. 2.School of Behavioural and Social SciencePlymouth PolytechnicPlymouthEngland

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