chapter  20
25 Pages

Logical Transitivity In Animals

WithHank Davis

The mechanisms underlying logical transitivity are not entirely clear, although it is frequently assumed that independently presented premises have been integrated into an ordered series of mental representations. Transitive inference is clearly related to numerical competence. There is a strongly supported connection between mathematical and logical thinking. Although transitive inference may be a valuable tool for assessing ordinality, most investigators of transitive inference view the process as an end in itself. Preliminary training on premise pairs is not always successful, that is subjects do not reliably proceed through all phases in order to be tested for transitive inference. Research on transitive inference in rats, for example, is really an assessment of the procedure, rather than the species. If rats are de facto considered incapable of transitive inference and they perform poorly, the test must have been adequate. Ostensibly, transitive inference involves both a sensitivity to transitive relations and an ability to use that hierarchy to make deductive inferences.