A relevance theory of induction

Douglas L. Medin*, John D. Coley, Gert Storms, Brett K. Hayes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


A framework theory, organized around the principle of relevance, is proposed for category-based reasoning. According to the relevance principle, people assume that premises are informative with respect to conclusions. This idea leads to the prediction that people will use causal scenarios and property reinforcement strategies in inductive reasoning. These predictions are contrasted with both existing models and normative logic. Judgments of argument strength were gathered in three different countries, and the results showed the importance of both causal scenarios and property reinforcement in category-based inferences. The relation between the relevance framework and existing models of category-based inductive reasoning is discussed in the light of these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-532
Number of pages16
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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