European journal of cognitive psychology vol:13 issue:4 pages:433-450
We report an experiment in which we test the possible influence of the tense of the verb and explicit negatives with indicative conditionals. We tested the effects of systematically negating the constituents of four fundamental inferences based on conditionals in three different tenses (present tense, past tense, future tense): Modus Ponens (i.e., inferences of the form: if p then q; p; therefore q), Modus Tollens (if p then q; not-q; therefore not-p), Affirmation of the Consequent (if p then q; q; therefore p), and Denial of the Antecedent (if p then q; not-p; therefore not-q). The latter two inferences are invalid for true conditionals, but are valid for bi-conditionals (if, and only if, p then q). The participants drew their own conclusions from premises about letters and numbers on cards. We discuss the results in relation to an affirmation premise bias, a negative conclusion bias, and a double negation effect. We outline the importance of our findings for theories about conditional and counterfactual thinking.