A relevance theory of induction

Research paper by Douglas L. Medin, John D. Coley, Gert Storms, Brett L. Hayes

Indexed on: 01 Sep '03Published on: 01 Sep '03Published in: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review


A framework theory, organized around the principle of relevance, is proposed for category-based reasoning. According to the relevance principle, people assume that premises are informative with respect to conclusions. This idea leads to the prediction that people will use causal scenarios and property reinforcement strategies in inductive reasoning. These predictions are contrasted with both existing models and normative logic. Judgments of argument strength were gathered in three different countries, and the results showed the importance of both causal scenarios and property reinforcement in categorybased inferences. The relation between the relevance framework and existing models of category-based inductive reasoning is discussed in the light of these findings.