Similarities and Individual Differences in the Wason Selection Task: An Item Response Theory Analysis


The four-card selection task (Wason, 1966) has been one of the most well-known tasks used in the literature on human reasoning. This article aimed to analyze this selection task by item response theory (Lord & Novick, 1968). Japanese undergraduates (N = 327 and 277 in Studies 1 and 2, respectively) responded to up to 10 types of representative Wason selection tasks, including the indicative task (Wason, 1966), beer task (Griggs & Cox, 1982), and cassava task (Cosmides & Tooby, 1989). The results of the analysis by the two-parameter logistic model indicated the following: the indicative task was similar to the beer and cassava tasks in terms of the discrimination parameter, and relative difficulty between the tasks would vary according to the value of theta, estimated by the two-parameter logistic model.

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