Abstract The psychology of verbal reasoning initially compared performance with classical logic. In the last 25 years, a new paradigm has arisen, which focuses on knowledge-rich reasoning for communication and persuasion and is typically modeled using Bayesian probability theory rather than logic. This paradigm provides a new perspective on argumentation, explaining the rational persuasiveness of arguments that are logical fallacies. It also helps explain how and why people stray from logic when given deductive reasoning tasks. What appear to be erroneous responses, when compared against logic, often turn out to be rationally justified when seen in the richer rational framework of the new paradigm. Moreover, the same approach extends naturally to inductive reasoning tasks, in which people extrapolate beyond the data they are given and logic does not readily apply. We outline links between social and individual reasoning and set recent developments in the psychology of reasoning in the wider context of Bayesian cognitive science.
Details: Annual Review of Psychology, 71, 305–330
Authors: Mike Oaksford and Nick Chater
Sir Clive Granger BuildingSchool of Economics
The University of NottinghamUniversity ParkNottingham NG7 2RD
telephone: +44 (0)115 84 66067
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