Reasoning Processes in Propositional Logic
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We conducted a computer-based psychological experiment in which a random mix of 40 tautologies and 40 non-tautologies were presented to the participants, who were asked to determine which ones of the formulas were tautologies. The participants were eight university students in computer science who had received tuition in propositional logic. The formulas appeared one by one, a time-limit of 45 s applied to each formula and no aids were allowed. For each formula we recorded the proportion of the participants who classified the formula correctly before timeout (accuracy) and the mean response time among those participants (latency). We propose a new proof formalism for modeling propositional reasoning with bounded cognitive resources. It models declarative memory, visual memory, working memory, and procedural memory according to the memory model of Atkinson and Shiffrin and reasoning processes according to the model of Newell and Simon. We also define two particular proof systems, T and NT, for showing propositional formulas to be tautologies and non-tautologies, respectively. The accuracy was found to be higher for non-tautologies than for tautologies (p < .0001). For tautologies the correlation between latency and minimum proof length in T was .89 and for non-tautologies the correlation between latency and minimum proof length in NT was .87.
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- Reasoning Processes in Propositional Logic
Journal of Logic, Language and Information
Volume 19, Issue 3 , pp 283-314
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Bounded resources
- Proof system
- Propositional logic
- Psychological experiment
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Applied Information Technology, Chalmers University of Technology, Forskningsgången 6, 41756, Gothenburg, Sweden
- 2. Department of Computer Science, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
- 3. Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden