Always look on the bright side of logic? Testing explanations of intuitive sensitivity to logic in perceptual tasks.

Brett K. Hayes, Rachel G. Stephens, Michael D. Lee, John C. Dunn, Anagha Kaluve, Jasmine Choi-Christou, Nicole Cruz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Much recent research and theorizing in the field of reasoning has been concerned with intuitive sensitivity to logical validity, such as the logic–brightness effect, in which logically valid arguments are judged to have. “brighter” typeface than invalid arguments. We propose and test. novel signal competition account of this phenomenon. Our account makes two assumptions: (a) as per the demands of the logic–brightness task, people attempt to find. perceptual signal to guide brightness judgments, but (b) when the perceptual signal is hard to discern, they instead attend to cues such as argument validity. Experiment. tested this account by manipulating the difficulty of the perceptual contrast. When contrast discrimination was relatively difficult, we replicated the logic–brightness effect. When the discrimination was easy, the effect was eliminated. Experiment. manipulated the ambiguity of the perceptual task, comparing discrimination performance when the perceptual contrast was labeled in terms of rating “brightness” or “darkness”. When the less ambiguous darkness labeling was used, there was no evidence of. logic–brightness effect. In both experiments, individual sensitivity to the perceptual discrimination was negatively correlated with sensitivity to argument validity. Hierarchical latent mixture modeling revealed distinct individual strategies: responses based on perceptual cues, responses based on validity or guessing. Consistent with the signal competition account, the proportion of those responding to validity increased with perceptual discrimination difficulty or task ambiguity. The results challenge explanations of the logic–brightness effect based on parallel dual-process models of reasoning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1598-1617
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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