Questioning the cheater-detection hypothesis: New studies with the selection task

Erica Carlisle, Eldar Shafir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The cheater-detection (CD) hypothesis suggests that people who otherwise perform poorly on the Wason selection task perform well when the task is couched in cheater-detection contexts. We report three studies with new selection problems that are similar to the originals but that question the CD hypothesis. The first two studies document a pattern heretofore attributed to CD mechanisms, namely good performance with "regular" rules and inferior performance with "switched" rules, all in problems that lack a cheater-detection context. The final study finds an interaction: not only is good performance elicited on non-CD problems, but poor performance is found in the context of CD problems. Performance on the selection task cannot be predicted based on the presence or absence of cheater-detection contexts, which brings into question the need to invoke a specialised cheater-detection module.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-122
Number of pages26
JournalThinking and Reasoning
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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