BALL et al, 2003. Inspection times and the selection task: What do eye-movements reveal about relevance effects? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 56A (6), pp. 1053–1077
Three experiments are reported that used eye-movement tracking to investigate the inspectiontime
effect predicted by Evans’ (1996) heuristic–analytic account of the Wason selection task.
Evans’ account proposes that card selections are based on the operation of relevance-determining
heuristics, whilst analytic processing only rationalizes selections. As such, longer inspection times
should be associated with selected cards (which are subjected to rationalization) than with
rejected cards. Evidence for this effect has been provided by Evans (1996) using computerpresented
selection tasks and instructions for participants to indicate (with a mouse pointer) cards
under consideration. Roberts (1998b) has argued that mouse pointing gives rise to artefactual
support for Evans’ predictions because of biases associated with the task format and the use of
mouse pointing. We eradicated all sources of artefact by combining careful task constructions
with eye-movement tracking to measure directly on-line attentional processing. All three experiments
produced good evidence for the robustness of the inspection-time effect, supporting the
predictions of the heuristic–analytic account.