Influences Contextuelles et Différences Individuelles dans les Activités Rationnelles
French National Research Agency (ANR)
Funder: French National Research Agency (ANR)Project code: ANR-07-JCJC-0065
Deductive reasoning and probabilistic judgment are rational human activities, for which well-formalized mathematical theories provide a normative benchmark. Decades of research in the cognitive sciences have shown impressive departures from this normative benchmark when human subjects engage in rational activities. However, there has been a growing concern that the lessons from these results might have been drawn too hastily, as (1) normative models do not aptly represent the social and interpersonal contexts wherein rational activities take place, which can explain some of the observed discrepancies, and (2) undue emphasis has been placed on the modal answer to judgment and reasoning tasks, disregarding the rich information given by individual differences in response to these tasks. The RATIONALITY research program is at the forefront of these contemporary perspectives. It will systematically investigate individual differences and social/interpersonal influences in two key aspects of human rationality, that is, deductive inference and probability judgment. Specifically, the RATIONALITY project will (1) Explain how politeness influences the interpretation of conditionals as well as verbal expressions of probability, quantity and risk; and test how this interpretation affects judgements and inferences; (2) Articulate the phenomenon of stereotype threat to the dual-process theory of judgment and reasoning; and test novel predictions derived from this articulation ; and (3) Assess the psychometric properties of classic tasks of judgment and reasoning; and test sophisticated mixed Rasch models of individual differences in responses to these tasks. The RATIONALITY project will be undertaken by two cognitive psychologists with expertise in the domain of judgment and reasoning, one social psychologist with expertise in the social regulation of cognitive processes, and one psychometrician with expertise in sophisticated mathematical models of individual differences. This complementarity in expertise is a critical asset for the success of the project. All members of the RATIONALITY project have been remarkably successful in the early stages of their scientific carrier, and have had successful experiences in collaborating together on the published preliminary studies that have motivated the project.
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