Reasoning about durations

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Description: Few experiments have examined how people reason about durative relations, e.g., during. Such relations pose challenges to present theories of reasoning, but many researchers argue that people simulate a mental timeline when they think about sequences of events. A recent theory posits that to mentally simulate durative relations, reasoners do not represent all of the time points across which an event might endure. Instead, they construct discrete tokens that stand in place of the beginnings and endings of those events. The theory predicts that when reasoners need to build multiple simulations to solve a reasoning problem, they should be more prone to error. Three experiments tested the theory by providing participants sets of premises describing durative relations; participants judged whether the sets were consistent or inconsistent. The results validated the model theory's prediction. We conclude by situating the results in recent work on the neurocognitive mechanisms that underlie temporal thinking.


What is "DR1", etc? The names of the folders below (e.g., "Experiment 1") correspond to the descriptions in Kelly, Khemlani, and Johnson-Laird (under review). The code, data, and analysis scripts also reflect a separate abbreviation system used for tracking experiments. Hence, "Experiment 3" corresponds to "DR5", i.e., the 5th experiment conducted for studying Durational Reasoning. How do you run...


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  • The consistency of durative relations

    Few experiments have examined how people reason about durative relations, e.g., "during". Such relations pose challenges to present theories of reason...

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