Memory and Cognition Chapter 7 1
Answers: Chapter 13 (Reasoning and Decision Making)
This is a set of questions to help you check your understanding of the material. It is
recommended that you do them right after doing the lecture and the readings for
that section, and then check your answers.
1. Consider the following syllogism
If p then q.
a. Abstract conditional
b. Concrete conditional
c. Abstract categorical
d. Concrete categorical
The correct answer is A. The syllogism is abstract rather than concrete
because it has letters not meaningful words. It is conditional because it uses
if and then, not all, some, most, etc.
2. Consider the following syllogism:
All cats are birds.
All birds have wings.
All cats have wings.
d. Both Valid and True
The correct answer is A. This one is a categorical syllogism. It was probably
easy to rule out C and D because the conclusion “All cats have wings” is
obviously not true. As far as I know, no cats have wings in the real world. You
might have gotten truth confused with validity though, and decided it was
also invalid (option B, which is wrong). You can tell that it is valid because of
the form.. the conclusion follows logically from the premises. The reason the
conclusion ends up being untrue is that one of the premises is untrue, but
that has no impact on validity.
3. The validity of a syllogism depends on
a. The truth of its premises
b. The truth of its conclusion
c. Its form
d. Both the truth of its premises and the truth of its conclusion
The correct answer is C. Question 2 should have demonstrated this for you,
but you may not have understood when you answered question 3. This stuff
is hard to think about – that’s one of the points of the chapter.
4. If it is raining, then I will take my umbrella. It is not raining. Therefore, I
didn’t take my umbrella.
This syllogism is an example of:
a. Denying the antecedent
b. Denying the consequent
c. Affirming the antecedent
d. Affirming the consequent
The correct answer is A. The antecedent is the part after “if” and the
consequent is the part after “then”. Denying is making it negative
(no/not/etc.) and affirming is leaving it positive (e.g. it is raining). This is
important because the validity of the syllogism depends on these forms.
Make sure you understand Table 13.1 and can see how to apply this to judge
validity. MOST people get MOST forms wrong, as the table shows, which
should tell you that you need a strategy for going against this and getting
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5. The rule of the Wason four-card problem is “If there is a vowel on one side,
then there is an even number on the other side.” Let’s say you are presented
with A, 8, M, and 13, each showing on one of four cards. To see if the rule is
valid, you would have to turn over the cards showing
a. 8 and M
b. A and M
c. A and 13
d. 8 and 13
The correct answer is C. This is sort of confusing because the first premise of
the rule is given to us in text and then the card task itself provides the second
premise and the conclusion. Once you know that you can figure it out using
table 13.1. According to the falsification principle, your goal in this task is to
look for situations that would show that the rule is invalid when it should be
valid. Using table 13.1 we see that we need to try to 1) affirm the antecedent
or 2) deny the consequent and look for invalid conclusions that arise from
that. The antecedent is “there is a vowel” so affirming that would be looking
at the letter that IS a vowel (A). The consequent is “there is an even number”
so denying that would be looking at the number that IS NOT an even number
(13). If you turned over the A and found an odd number, or if you turned over
the 13 and found a vowel you would know that the rule is invalid. Only 4% of
people get this right, which should tell you that you definitely need a strategy
for going against this trend and getting it right on the exams.
6. The application of a(n) __________ makes it easier to solve the “drinking beer”
version of the Wason problem.
a. Conjunction rule
b. Permission schema
c. Atmosphere effect
d. Availability heuristic
The correct answer is B. You should know all of these vocabulary words. This
is a pretty easy because only one was something that improves problem
solving and only one was related to the Wason task discussion.
7. Bonnie has ordere her monthly supply of medicines through the mail for the
past 5 years. Except for one order, all orders have arrived within two
business days. Bonnie placed an order yesterday and she expects to receive
order tomorrow. Bonnie is using:
a. An omission bias
b. Inductive reasoning
c. The conjunction rule
d. The similarity-coverage model
The correct answer is B. The general idea of reasoning from past
observations to make a prediction about future situations is called inductive
8. The finding that people tend to incorrectly conclude that more people die
from tornadoes than from asthma has been explained in terms of the:
a. Representativeness heuristic
b. Availability heuristic
c. Falsification principle
d. Belief bias
The correct answer is B. People dying of asthma is more common, but it
doesn’t make the news most of the time. Whenever there is a tornado and
someone dies, on the other hand, everyone hears about it.
9. Lydia is 48 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in
Philosophy as an undergraduate. As a student, she was deeply concerned
with issues of discrimination and social justice, and she participated in anti-
nuclear demonstrations. Which of the following is most probable?
a. Lydia is a U.S. Congresswoman
b. Lydia is a U.S. Congresswoman and active in the feminist movement
c. Lydia is a U.S. Senator
d. Lydia is a U.S. Senator and active in the feminist movement
The correct answer is A. Congress is composed of two chambers, the Senate
and the House. The probability of being in Congress is the probability of
being in the Senate plus the probability of being in the House. In other words,
since Senate is a subcategory of Congress it is always more likely that she will
be a Congresswoman than a Senator and you can rule out C and D. To rule out
B you need to know that not all Congresswomen are active in the feminist
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10. Utility refers to
a. Outcomes that achieve a person’s goals
b. How useful a reasoning process is
c. The validity of a syllogism
d. Degree of risk aversion one has
The correct answer is A. Be sure you know this definition – it’s a more
specific one than our everyday understanding of the word.
11. Cecile has dreamed of owning her own home for years, and she can finally
afford a small cottage in an older neighborhood. She notices that she feels
more positive about her home when she drives home by the abandoned
shacks, but she hates her home when driving past the fancy mansions with
their large lawns. Cecile’s emotions are influenced by
a. The principle of diversity
b. Confirmation bias
d. The law of large numbers
The correct answer is C. The same principle operates in decision-making
(choosing alternatives). It is not much of a leap to see how this principle may
drive consumerism, especially given the influence of media. If I see everyone
on TV in a big house, I will be unhappy with my small house, even if it was
fine before and/or the others are far beyond reasonable means. Yet I will be
willing to sacrifice a lot to avoid the unhappiness I feel. The question is – why
not stop watching those TV shows instead? And drive through poorer areas
instead of rich ones? Framing can work for you to make you more satisfied
with your life.
12. Omission bias involves
a. Misjudging a syllogism as valid because the conclusion agrees with
b. Ignoring the importance of sample size on which an observation is
c. Selectively looking for evidence that conforms to our beliefs while
ignoring the rest
d. Tending to do nothing rather than making a decision that could be
interpreted as causing harm.
The correct answer is D. We often forget that non-action is a decision too.
This is a good question because all of the choices are different biases that
were discussed in the chapter. Take a moment to make sure you can identify
the vocabulary terms that are linked to each of these biases.
13. Explain the evidence from neuropsychology and brain imaging studies
showing how the pre-frontal cortex is involved in problem-solving and
There are a number of cases where people had damage to the PFC and
couldn’t do reasoning (meal planning, Towers of Hanoii, changing rules in the
Wason task, etc.) and also imaging evidence for PFC activation for these sorts
of tasks in people without brain damage. Imaging research in
neuroeconomics shows that the PFC is also involved in decision-making, but
the work also suggests a large role for emotional processing in decision-