Similarities of theoretical and practical reasoning processes [Elektronische Ressource] : behavioral and brain imaging evidences / by Patrick S. Wiedenmann
218 Pages
English
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Similarities of theoretical and practical reasoning processes [Elektronische Ressource] : behavioral and brain imaging evidences / by Patrick S. Wiedenmann

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218 Pages
English

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Similarities of theoretical and practical reasoning processes – behavioral and brain imaging evidences. Inaugural-Dissertation zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades Doctor rerum naturalium (Dr. rer. nat.) an der Justus-Liebig-University Giessen Faculty 06 – Psychology and Sports Science Otto-Behaghel-Strasse 10F 35394 Giessen - Germany Presented on 01/25/2009 by Dipl.-Psych., M.A. Phil. Patrick S. Wiedenmann ndborn on February the 2 , 1976 in Bamberg - Germany First reviewer and advisor: Prof. Dr. Markus Knauff (Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Science) Second reviewer: Prof. Dr. Rudolf Stark (Bender Institute of Neuroimaging) ii To my parents Maria-Luise and Volker, my sister Tonia, and to my love Karoline. iii Acknowledgements First of all, I thank Prof. Dr. Markus Knauff for the support and encouragement to pursue my research interests on human reasoning. Furthermore, I thank him for his contributions to the idea of utilizing the human rights articles as well as the application of the deductive inference tasks. I also want to thank Prof. Dr. Frank Bremmer, Prof. Dr.

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Published 01 January 2009
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Similarities of theoretical and practical reasoning
processes – behavioral and brain imaging evidences.








Inaugural-Dissertation
zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades
Doctor rerum naturalium (Dr. rer. nat.)
an der

Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Faculty 06 – Psychology and Sports Science
Otto-Behaghel-Strasse 10F
35394 Giessen - Germany








Presented on 01/25/2009

by

Dipl.-Psych., M.A. Phil. Patrick S. Wiedenmann
ndborn on February the 2 , 1976
in Bamberg - Germany










































First reviewer and advisor:
Prof. Dr. Markus Knauff (Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Science)

Second reviewer:
Prof. Dr. Rudolf Stark (Bender Institute of Neuroimaging)

ii




















To my parents Maria-Luise and Volker,

my sister Tonia,

and

to my love Karoline.

iii
Acknowledgements
First of all, I thank Prof. Dr. Markus Knauff for the support and encouragement to pursue my
research interests on human reasoning. Furthermore, I thank him for his contributions to the
idea of utilizing the human rights articles as well as the application of the deductive inference
tasks.

I also want to thank Prof. Dr. Frank Bremmer, Prof. Dr. Karl Gegenfurtner, and the
graduate program ‘NeuroAct’ (DFG graduate program ‘Neural representation and action
control 885/2) for insights into various research fields and topics as well as for the valuable
discussions and financial support.

For support and helpful discussions concerning the fMRI experiment as well as the
opportunity to conduct an fMRI study, I thank the Bender Institute of Neuroimaging and all
its members. In particular, I thank Bertram Walter for his exceptional support.

I also thank my student assistant Anne Kunkel for her committed work and support,
assisting in literature research and data collection. Further, I thank my diploma students
Alexandra Schmoranzer (intelligence experiment), Michaela Kandl (training experiment), and
Eva Schäfer (patient experiment, not reported within the current thesis, since it was only a
single case study) as well as the students who wrote their research papers for their classes
under my supervision. All of them showed extraordinary commitment conducting their
respective experiments.

I would also like to thank Prof. Dr. Manfred Kaps and Prof. Dr. Horst Traupe as well
as all the staff members from the Neurology/Neurosurgery and Neuroradiology departments
of the University Clinic of Giessen for their aid and support in the patient study.

I also thank all participants and the patient taking part, thus rendering all experiments
possible. For the support acquiring participants with superior intelligence, I particularly thank
Martin Dressler from the “Mensa e.V.”, the members of the “Deutschen Schülerakademien”,
and the members of the “Junior Akademien”.

iv
Moreover, I would also like to thank Prof. Dr. Christof Schuster, Dr. Jochen Ranger,
and Dr. Knut Drewing for their statistical advices and validation of methods and analysis used
in this work.

For advice and suggestions pertaining to the English language, I thank Dr. Marcos
Sanchez, Thomas Paasch, Lhai Egesdörfer, and Dr. Jennifer Leung.

Last but not least, I thank Dr. Kai Hamburger for accommodating discussions,
comments, and his lingering support. Moreover, I also thank all members of the Experimental
Psychology and Cognitive Science Unit, especially Christina Wranke and Dr. Leandra Bucher
for their support on various topics.

My special thanks go to Marko Kaeming, who did almost impossible, extensive, and
exhaustive work concerning the fMRI experiment, and who became a good friend in the
meanwhile.

Finally, I thank my parents and grandparents who provided me with mental and
financial support at all times, and who believe in me without any exception. I also thank my
sister for the motivational impulses and refreshing periods in Austria. My final gratitude goes
to my partner Karoline Pieritz, who never gave up on me and supported me all throughout,
especially in the last months, even though she had enough of her own stress to deal with.

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Zusammenfassung
Seit Jahrhunderten erforschen Philosophen, wie Menschen denken und welche
Denkfähigkeiten sie besitzen. Außerdem versuchen sie herauszufinden, wie Menschen ihr
Denken einsetzen können und sollten, um ein friedliches und fruchtbares Zusammenleben zu
erreichen. Dabei entstanden die Disziplinen ‚theoretische‘ und ‚praktische‘ Philosophie,
wobei sich die erste hauptsächlich mit Epistemologie, und die zweite mit Ethik und Moral
beschäftigt. Philosophen wie Kant entwickelten ihre Theorien über praktisches Denken oft
aufbauend auf ihren Theorien zu theoretischem Denken, und präsentierten so relativ ‚all-
umfassende‘ Theorien. Im letzten Jahrhundert begannen auch die Naturwissenschaften
praktische und theoretische Denkprozesse des Menschen zu erforschen. Im Unterschied zur
philosophischen Forschung, in der oft ‚Gedankenexperimente‘ eingesetzt wurden, nutzten
psychologische oder neurowissenschaftliche Forschung Verhaltensexperimente, und die
Modellannahmen die postuliert wurden, beziehen sich entweder auf theoretisches oder
praktisches Denken. Gegenwärtige Theorien menschlichen Denkens, die auf experimentellen
Ergebnissen basieren, sind unter anderem ‚Zwei-Prozess‘ Modelle. Sie werden ‚Zwei-
Prozess‘ Modelle genannt, da in ihnen ‚rationale‘ und ‚emotional/intuitive‘ kognitive Prozesse
als Grundlage des Denkens angenommen werden. Solche Erklärungsansätze gibt es sowohl
im Bereich der theoretischen als auch der praktischen Denkforschung. Allerdings wird zu
beiden Denkbereichen meist getrennt geforscht und dementsprechend gelten die jeweiligen
Modelle auch nur für theoretisches oder praktisches Denken. Daher war die Idee für die
vorliegende Arbeit, diese beiden Forschungsbereiche gemeinsam mittels
Verhaltensexperimenten und bildgebenden Verfahren zu untersuchen, um Evidenzen dafür zu
bekommen, dass beide Denkbereiche auf ‚rationalen‘ und ‚emotional/intuitiven‘ Prozessen
basieren. Sollte es Evidenzen dafür geben, wären wohl ‚Zwei-Prozess‘ Modelle der beste
Erklärungsansatz für beide Denkdomänen. Um dieses Ziel zu erreichen wurden drei
Vorstudien und fünf Experimente durchgeführt, die von Verhaltensexperimenten mit
„normalen“ Personen, über Extremgruppenvergleiche (z.B., hoch-intelligente vs.
durchschnittlich-intelligente Personen) bis hin zu bildgebenden Verfahren reichten. Die
Ergebnisse dieser Experimente liefern erste Evidenzen für die eben getroffenen Annahmen.
Theoretisches und praktisches Denken scheinen auf ‚rationalen‘ und ‚emotional/intuitiven‘
kognitiven Prozessen zu beruhen, die wiederum mit Aktivierungen in fronto-temporo-
parietalen Gehirnstrukturen assoziiert sind. Die Ergebnisse werden im Rahmen der aktuellen
Forschung zu theoretischem und praktischem Denken interpretiert und diskutiert.
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Abstract
For hundreds of years, philosophers explored how humans reason and what reasoning abilities
humans possess. They were also interested at how these reasoning abilities could and should
be applied to reach a peaceful and flourishing coexistence. The two sub-disciplines
investigating these issues are theoretical and practical philosophy. Epistemology is the main
research domain of the former, whereas morals and ethics represent the main research field of
the latter. Philosophers like Kant often derived their theories on practical reasoning from their
assumptions on theoretical reasoning, trying to propose an ‘all-encompassing’ theory. Since
the last century, even the field of natural sciences investigated on practical and theoretical
human reasoning processes. In contrast to philosophy, disciplines like neuroscience or
psychology used behavioral experiments instead of ‘thought experiments’, and the models
proposed often refer either to practical or to theoretical reasoning. Actual proposals derived
from experimental findings to explain human reasoning often suggest ‘dual-process’ accounts.
‘Dual-process’ models contain ‘rational’ and ‘emotional/intuitive’ cognitive processes that are
assumed to be involved in human reasoning. Such assumptions have been made in the areas
of theoretical and practical reasoning research. However, these reasoning domains have
mainly been investigated in isolation and the respective ‘dual-process’ accounts thus refer to
either theoretical or practical reasoning. Therefore, the idea of the current thesis being
presented here, is to investigate theoretical and practical reasoning combined, applying
behavioral and brain imaging experiments to provide evidence that both reasoning domains
are similarly based on ‘rational’ and ‘emotional/intuitive’ processes. If such evidence could be
found, ‘dual-process’ models should account for both of these reasoning domains. To reach
this aim, three pre-studies and five experiments were conducted ranging from behavioral
experiments with “normal” participants over extreme groups (i.e., persons with superior
intelligence as compared to persons with average intelligence) to brain imaging techniques.
The results reveal first hand evidences supporting the above assumptions. Theoretical and
practical reasoning seem to require ‘rational’ and ‘emotional/intuitive’ cognitive processes
based on activations in a fronto-temporo-parietal network in the brain. These results and
further findings will be interpreted and discussed within the context of the current research on
theoretical and practical reasoning.
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Contents

1. Introduction 1
1.1 Basic principles of logic 3
1.2 Deductive inferences 5
1.2.1 Conditionals 5
1.2.2 Syllogisms 8
1.3 Behavioral experiments on theoretical reasoning 9
1.4 Theories of theoretical reasoning 15
1.5 Behavioral experiments on practical reasoning 18
1.6 Brain imaging experiments on theoretical reasoning 23
1.7 Brain imaging experiments on practical reasoning 26
1.8 Working memory 32
1.9 Recognition 34
1.10 Reasoning, emotion, and the human brain 38
1.11 Excursus – The method of brain imaging 43
1.12 Integration part and derivation of experimental paradigm 46

2. Pre-Study I 52
2.1 Method 52
2.1.1 Participants 52
2.1.2 Material 52
2.1.3 Procedure 54
2.2 Results 54
2.3 Discussion 55

3. Experiment I 56
3.1 Method 56
3.1.1 Participants 56
3.1.2 Material 56
3.1.3 Procedure 57
3.2 Results 57
3.2.1 Error rates 57
3.2.2 Decision times 59
3.3 Discussion 60

4. Pre-Study II 63
4.1 Method 63
4.1.1 Participants 63
4.1.2 Material 63
4.1.3 Procedure 64
4.2 Results 64
4.3 Discussion 65

5. Experiment II 67
5.1 Method 67
5.1.1 Participants 67
5.1.2 Material 67
5.1.3 Procedure 67
5.2 Results 68
5.2.1 Error rates 68
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5.2.2 Decision times 69
5.3 Discussion 70

6. Pre-Study III 74
6.1 Method 74
6.1.1 Participants 74
6.1.2 Material 74
6.1.3 Procedure 75
6.2 Results 75
6.2.1 Deductive reasoning problems 75
6.2.2 Recognition items 77
6.3 Discussion 78

7. Experiment III – Training 80
7.1 Excursus - Training in theoretical reasoning 80
7.2 Method 83
7.2.1 Participants 83
7.2.2 Material 83
7.2.2.1 Logic Training 83
7.2.2.2 Pseudo Training 84
7.2.2.3 Moral Judgment Test 85
7.2.2.4 Computer Experiment 86
7.2.3 Procedure 86
7.3 Results 87
7.3.1 Task by group analysis 88
7.3.2 Pre-post-test comparison and MJT 90
7.3.3 Deductive reasoning problems 90
7.3.3.1 Error rates 90
7.3.3.2 Decision times 94
7.3.4 Recognition items 96
7.3.4.1 Error rates 96
7.3.4.2 Decision times 97
7.4 Discussion 98

8. Experiment IV – Intelligence 101
8.1 Method 102
8.1.1 Participants 102
8.1.2 Material 102
8.1.3 Procedure 103
8.2 Results 103
8.2.1 Task by group analysis 104
8.2.2 MJT 106
8.2.3 Deductive reasoning problems 107
8.2.3.1 Error rates 107
8.2.3.2 Decision times 109
8.2.4 Recognition items 111
8.2.4.1 Error rates 111
8.2.4.2 Decision times 112
8.2.5 Correlation 113
8.3 Discussion 114

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9. Experiment V – fMRI 118
9.1 Method 119
9.1.1 Participants 119
9.1.2 Material 120
9.1.3 Procedure 120
9.1.4 Analysis of behavioral data 120
9.1.5 Image acquisition and analysis 121
9.2 Results 122
9.2.1 Behavioral data 122
9.2.1.1 Error rates 122
9.2.1.2 Decision times 123
9.2.2 Imaging data 124
9.2.2.1 Results of the Region of Interest (ROI) analyses 124
9.2.2.2 Results of the explorative whole-brain analysis 126
9.3 Discussion 127
9.3.1 Behavioral Results 127
9.3.2 Imaging data 128
9.3.2.1 Abstract problems 128
9.3.2.2 Moral problems 128
9.3.2.3 Neutral problems 129
9.3.2.4 Conjunction analysis 129
9.2.3.5 Difference analysis 130

10. General Discussion 132
10.1 Pre-Studies 133
10.2 Experiments I + II 136
10.3 Experiment III – Training 139
10.4 Experiment IV – Intelligence 143
10.5 Experiment V – fMRI 145
10.6 Critics and limitations 147

11. Conclusions and outlook 152

Bibliography 154

Appendix 166

Statutatory declaration (“Eidesstattliche Erklärung”) 208

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