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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The variables of logicality Morris, Harold C.


This thesis is concerned with the analysis, explication and measurement of the psychological construct of logicality. Logicality is defined in terms of an ability to work with logical form at a fairly explicit level of awareness. Logical form, a concept borrowed from formal logic, is described and shown to have properties corresponding to different logical activities: (1) logical forms can be valid or invalid, and so can be judged as such; (2) particular logical forms can be identical, in spite of differing content, and so can be matched as such; and (3) a set of logically structured givens can be extended to permit disclosure of some inference or answer, and so solutions to deductive problems can be found. To each of these logical activities there corresponds an ability to perform the activity, and it is by this route that the three components of logicality are arrived at. They are identified as the following: (1) logical judgment, in which an argument's form is evaluated for validity; (2) logical intuition, in which arguments are matched for identity of form; and (3) deductive problem solving, conceived of as a derivation-like cognitive process in which an inference is drawn from a set of logically structured givens. In reviewing the psychological literature pertaining to each of these proposed variables it is noted that these aspects of logicality have always been studied in isolation from one another. An important question though is whether or to what extent logicality is a unitary trait. One approach to answering this question is to determine the degree of intercorrelation exhibited by the variables. With this test of the unitariness of logicality in mind operational definitions of the three variables are developed. Subjects drawn from a population of university students of diverse majors (1) evaluated argument forms as to their validity, to assess logical judgment; (2) matched argument forms to assess logical intuition; and (3) answered various questions relating to deductive story problems to assess deductive problem solving ability. A significant correlation was found between measures of logical judgment and logical intuition, although the magnitude of this correlation (,r= +.38) was not great. Deductive problem solving was not correlated with either logical judgment or logical intuition. The unitariness of logicality is discussed in light of these findings, with the conclusion drawn that the variables appear as relatively independent in manifestation, perhaps because of differential previous practice by subjects. The implications of the present analysis of logicality and of the empirical findings on the intercorrelation of the variables are discussed and suggestions for future research offered.

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