chapter  2
24 Pages

The Effects of Rule Clarification, Decision Justification, and Selection Instruction on Wason's Abstract Selection Task

This chapter is concerned with Peter Wason's selection task-specifically with the original version that has become known as the standard abstract form of the task. It is, in Wason's words, "deceptively simple (not 'deceptively difficult' as some people write for reasons which escape me), with the corollary that it is really very difficult" (Wason, 1983, p. 48). Wason goes on to point out that this task has been called "really very complicated" (Finocchiaro, 1980), a "laboratory game" (Wetherick, 1970), a "cognitive illusion" (Cohen, 1981), or quite simply "irritating" (Vuyk, 1981). What then is this sometimes maligned but so intensively studied task?