The effects of problem-types on selection of reasoning strategies in the four-card problem

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It is generally recognized that people tends to select more confirmative strategy (seaching for confirming evidences) than falsificative strategy (searching for falsifying evidences) in hypothesis-testing. Such tendency is also assumed to explain the difficulty of the four-card problem (FCP) because hypothesis-testing is explicit in an ordinary FCP problem-type. Therefore problem-type in which hypothesis-testing is implicit will facilitate a selection of falsificative strategy. In a present study two FCP problem-types were set to undergraduates : a proposition-testing type and an example -testing type. The main results were as follows : (1) in the example-testing type, falsificative strategy was selected most; and no confirmative strategy was seen ; (2) the problem-types had no effect in the arbitrary propositions (having the arbitrary connection between the antecedent and consequent) ; and (3) selection of falsificative strategy in the example-testing type was seen essential to its selection in the proposition-testing type. These results suggested that it was premature to deny “thematic material effect” in FCP, and responses to FCP could be interpreted by the “Vygotsky's zone of proximal development”.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-152
Number of pages10
JournalJapanese Journal of Educational Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • arbitrariness of propositions
  • confirmative strategy
  • falsificative strategy
  • problem-types
  • the four-card problem


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