In two studies we tested the hypothesis that the appropriate linguistic formulation of a deontic rule – i.e. the formulation which clarifies the monadic nature of deontic operators - should produce more correct responses than the conditional formulation in Wason selection task. We tested this assumption by presenting a prescription rule and a prohibition rule in conditional vs. proper deontic formulation. We contrasted this hypothesis with two other hypotheses derived from social contract theory and relevance theory. According to the first theory, a deontic rule expressed in terms of cost-benefit should elicit a cheater detection module, sensible to mental states attributions and thus able to discriminate intentional rule violations from accidental rule violations. We tested this prevision by distinguishing the two types of violations. According to relevance theory, performance in selection task should improve by increasing cognitive effect and decreasing cognitive effort. We tested this prevision by focusing experimental instructions on the rule vs. the action covered by the rule..
Linguistic, Pragmatic and Evolutionary Factors in Wason Selection Task / Ferrara, Fabrizio; Matarazzo, O.. - STAMPA. - 33:(2008), pp. 420-426. (Intervento presentato al convegno International Conference on Social and Cognitive Sciences tenutosi a Heidelberg (Germania) nel 24-26/09/2008).