Kinematic mental simulations in abduction and deduction

Sangeet Suresh Khemlani , Robert Mackiewicz , Monica Bucciarelli , Philip N. Johnson-Laird


We present a theory, and its computer implementation, of howmental simulations underlie the abductions of informal algorithmsand deductions from these algorithms. Three experiments testedthe theory’s predictions, using an environment of a single railwaytrack and a siding. This environment is akin to a universal Turingmachine, but it is simple enough for nonprogrammers to use. Participantssolved problems that required use of the siding to rearrangethe order of cars in a train (experiment 1). Participantsabduced and described in their own words algorithms that solvedsuch problems for trains of any length, and, as the use of simulationpredicts, they favored “while-loops” over “for-loops” in theirdescriptions (experiment 2). Given descriptions of loops of procedures,participants deduced the consequences for given trains ofsix cars, doing so without access to the railway environment (experiment3). As the theory predicts, difficulty in rearranging trainsdepends on the numbers of moves and cars to be moved, whereasin formulating an algorithm and deducing its consequences, itdepends on the Kolmogorov complexity of the algorithm. Overall,the results corroborated the use of a kinematic mental model increating and testing informal algorithms and showed that individualsdiffer reliably in the ability to carry out these tasks.
Author Sangeet Suresh Khemlani
Sangeet Suresh Khemlani,,
, Robert Mackiewicz (Wydział Psychologii)
Robert Mackiewicz,,
- Wydział Psychologii
, Monica Bucciarelli
Monica Bucciarelli,,
, Philip N. Johnson-Laird
Philip N. Johnson-Laird,,
Journal seriesProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, ISSN 0027-8424, (A 45 pkt)
Issue year2013
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in Englishcognitive processes, informal programming, problem solving, reasoning
ASJC Classification1000 Multidisciplinary
Languageen angielski
PNAS-2013-42-cover.gif of 14-09-2015
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Kinematic mental simulations in abduction_nadbitka.pdf 426.26 KB
Score (nominal)45
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2014 = 2.725; WoS Impact Factor: 2013 = 9.809 (2) - 2013=10.727 (5)
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