The influence of clause order, congruency and probability on the processing of conditionals.

Haigh, Matthew and Stewart, Andrew (2011) The influence of clause order, congruency and probability on the processing of conditionals. Thinking & Reasoning, 17 (4). pp. 402-423. ISSN 1354-6783

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Conditional information can be equally asserted in the forms if p, then q (e.g., if I am ill, I will miss work tomorrow) and q, if p (e.g., I will miss work tomorrow, if I am ill). While this type of clause order manipulation has previously been found to have no influence on the ultimate conclusions participants draw from conditional rules, we used self-paced reading to examine how it affects the real time incremental processing of everyday conditional statements. Experiment 1 revealed that clause order interacts with presuppositional congruency as readers hypothetically represent counterfactual statements. When if p, then q counterfactuals contained a presupposition that was incongruent with prior context, these statements took longer to read than when the presupposition was congruent, but for q, if p conditionals there was no such congruency effect. Experiment 2 revealed that reading times were influenced by the subjective probability of an indicative conditional regardless of clause order, with a penalty observed for low-probability statements relative to high-probability statements in both conditional clause orders. These data reveal a dissociation whereby clause order mediates the effect of suppositional congruency on reading times, but does not mediate the effect of subjective probability.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Thinking & Reasoning,Decmber 2011 [copyright Taylor & Francis], available online at:
Uncontrolled Keywords: conditionals, clause order, reasoning, comprehension
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Matthew Haigh
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2013 10:43
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 14:48

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