Max Lotstein

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We describe a dual-process theory of how individuals estimate the probabilities of unique events, such as Hillary Clinton becoming U.S. President. It postulates that uncertainty is a guide to improbability. In its computer implementation, an intuitive system 1 simulates evidence in mental models and forms analog non-numerical representations of the(More)
In two experiments, we established a new phenomenon in reasoning from disjunctions of the grammatical form either A or else B, where A and B are clauses. When individuals have to assess whether pairs of assertions can be true at the same time, they tend to focus on the truth of each clause of an exclusive disjunction (and ignore the concurrent falsity of(More)
The mental model theory of reasoning postulates that individuals establish the consistency of a set of assertions by constructing a mental model in which all the assertions hold. Mental models represent what is true but not what is false, and this principle of ‘truth’ predicts that certain assertions should yield systematic errors. We report an experiment(More)
We propose a theory of immediate inferences from assertions containing a single quantifier, such as: All of the artists are bakers; therefore, some of the bakers are artists. The theory is based on mental models and is implemented in a computer program, mReasoner. It predicts three main levels of increasing difficulty: (a) immediate inferences in which the(More)
Individuals can make inferences from a single quantified premise. For instance, if you know that all of the Virginians are students, you might infer that some of the students are Virginians. We describe a computational system, mReasoner, of the cognitive processes that underlie these so-called ‘immediate’ inferences. The account is based on the assumption(More)
Assertions of set membership, such as Amy is an artist, should not be confused with those of set inclusion, such as All artists are bohemians. Membership is not a transitive relation, whereas inclusion is. Cognitive scientists have neglected the topic, and so we developed a theory of inferences yielding conclusions about membership, e.g., Amy is a bohemian,(More)
Individuals are happy to make estimates of the probabilities of unique events. Such estimates have no right or wrong answers, but when they suffice to determine the joint probability distribution, they should at least be consistent, yielding one that sums to unity. Mental model theory predicts two main sources of inconsistency: the need to estimate the(More)
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