The suitability of placement tasks as analogues for syllogistic reasoning



Forty-four volunteer subjects were individually presented with displays of two colours, one above the other, and aural sentences describing two colours, one already in the display and the other new, in either a sentence-first or a display-first condition. The sentences varied with respect to the relational term used: higher than, lower than, not as high as, not as low as. In both conditions subjects were required to verbally respond top, or bottom according to where the colour in the sentence that was not in the display would need to be placed in the display, or can't do if the new colour could not be unambiguously placed. Response time and error rate comparisons, for each condition and each sentence type, between tasks requiring the sentence subject to be placed and tasks requiring the sentence object to be placed were interpreted as showing that such placement tasks were unacceptable as a source of evidence for an imagery analogue model of syllogistic reasoning.