THE EFFECT OF STRUCTURE AND CONTENT ON THE MENTAL REPRESENTATION AND PROCESSES OF SPATIAL DEDUCTIVE REASONING

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Authors
  1. Boudreau, G.
  2. Pigeau, R.
Corporate Authors
Defence and Civil Inst of Environmental Medicine, Downsview ONT (CAN)
Abstract
The general aim of this study is to elucidate the effects of the structure and content of an argument on the mental representation and processes of spatial deductive reasoning. We will investigate the effects of these factors mainly by comparing the opposing predictions made by the Formal Rules theory and the Mental Models theory of spatial deductive reasoning. Thirty-seven subjects solved 48 spatial reasoning problems which varied by their logical structure, that is, by the order of the objects in the premise sets, and their geometrical content, that is, by the number of dimensions (2D, 3D), orientations (horizontal, vertical), and directions (right/left, bottom/top) specified in the premise sets. We also varied the display of the problems according to their symbolic structure content using sentences or diagrams to represent the relations among entities, and their symbolic content using nouns or images to represent the entities. Mental representations and spatial deductions were reliably easier to construct when arguments wre displayed as diagrams than as sentences. The use of images in sentences increased the difficulty of representing and reasoning from such symbolic contents while the use of nouns or images in diagrams did not affect either of these aspects of spatial reasoning. TRUNCATED
Keywords
Deductive reasoning;Spatial reasoning;Deductive;Formal Rules Theory;Mental Models Theory;Spatial deductive reasoning;Deduction
Report Number
DCIEM-97-P-53 — Paper
Date of publication
03 Oct 1997
Number of Pages
31
DSTKIM No
99-00189
CANDIS No
510021
Format(s):
Hardcopy;Document Image stored on Optical Disk

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