Momme von Sydow, York Hagmayer, Nicole Metzner and Michael Waldmann (2005)

Cooperation detection and deontic reasoning in the Wason selection task

In: False, ed. . Schwabe

Proposes and evaluates the flexible deontic logic theory, a domain-specific theory for testing prescriptive rules in the Wason selection task (WST). The theory combines older ideas of a deontic logic of prescriptive rules with that of a flexible focus on different cells of an ought table. After discussing the differences between descriptive and prescriptive rules, it is argued that the checking of prescriptive rules is based on deontic logic combined with a flexible focus on conforming cases (cooperator detection) or deviating cases (cheater detection). An experimental study involving 80 college students tested these assumptions by varying the conditional rule (obligation vs. prohibition rule) and the pragmatic focus (cheater vs. cooperator focus) in a WST. Results provided evidence for the interaction of different conditionals based on deontic logic and focus effects as proposed by the flexible deontic logic theory of the WST. It is concluded that the results favor the proposed theory over other current theories of deontic WSTs.