Latest discovery: Gómez-Veiga, I., García-Madruga, J. A., & Moreno-Ríos, S. 2012

Isabel Gómez-Veiga, Juan García-Madruga, and Sergio Moreno-Ríos have shown that people think about more possibilities when they understand conditionals based on ‘unless’ compared to conditionals based on ‘if’. Their results are published in the  Journal of Cognitive Psychology (24, 8, 1002-1009) and summarised in their abstract as follows:

‘Using a priming paradigm, the possibilities that people keep in mind in order to understand “unless A, B” were compared to those from “if A, not-B” conditionals. The length of time it took people to read conjunctions such as “A and B”, “A and not-B”, “not-A and B”, and “not-A and not-B” after they had been primed by the different conditionals was measured. The results show that, whereas people rely on one possibility to understand “if”, they rely on two possibilities to understand “unless” conditionals. The results are discussed within the mental models framework.’

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