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In this Very Short Introduction Jonathan Evans explores cognitive psychological approaches to understanding the nature of thinking and reasoning, problem solving, and decision making. He shows how our problem solving capabilities are hugely dependent on also having the imagination to ask the right questions, and the ability to see things from a completely new perspective. Beginning by considering the approaches of the behaviourists and the Gestalt psychologists, he moves on to modern
explorations of thinking, including hypothetical thinking, conditionals, deduction, rationality, and intuition. Covering the role of past learning, IQ, and cognitive biases, Evans also discusses the idea that there may be two different ways of thinking, arising from our evolutionary history.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
What is the extent and limitation of human competence in deductive reasoning?
What factors are responsible for systematic errors and biases on reasoning tasks?
How is human reasoning influenced by the content in which logical problems are presented?
Four major classes of theory are discussed throughout the book. The long established theory that people have a mental logic comprised of formal rules of inference is contrasted particularly with the recently developed mental model theory of deductive reasoning. Explanations of many phenomena, especially biases, are also considered in terms of heuristic processes. Finally, consideration is given to accounts of content and context effects based upon the use of domain sensitive rules or schemas.
The book ends with a discussion of research on deductive reasoning in the context of the current debate about human rationality.
Hypothetical thought involves the imagination of possibilities and the exploration of their consequences by a process of mental simulation. In this Classic Edition, Jonathan St B T Evans’ presents his pioneering Hypothetical Thinking Theory; an integrated theoretical account of a wide range of psychological studies on hypothesis testing, reasoning, judgement and decision making.
Hypothetical Thinking Theory is built on three key principles and implemented in a version of Evans' well-known heuristic–analytic theory of reasoning. The central claim of this book is that this theory can provide an integrated account of apparently diverse phenomena including confirmation bias in hypothesis testing, acceptance of fallacies in deductive reasoning, belief biases in reasoning and judgement, biases of statistical judgement and numerous characteristic findings in the study of decision making.
Featuring a reflective and insightful new introduction to the book, this classic edition discusses contemporary theory on cognitive biases, human rationality and dual-process theories of higher cognition. It will be of great interest to researchers, post graduates as well as advanced undergraduate students.
How to be a Researcher provides a strategic guide to the conduct of a successful research career within a university environment. Based on the author’s extensive personal experience, it offers down-to-earth advice, philosophical guidance, and discussions of the political context of academic research.
This is not a research methods book, and the topics it covers are rarely discussed elsewhere. The bulk of the book provides practical advice on the development of essential skills and strategic approaches, covering questions such as:
- how to decide which topics to work on
- how to read and review literature
- how to develop theory
- how to integrate research and teaching activity
- how to approach research design
- how to obtain and manage research funding
- how to collaborate and supervise effectively
- how to write up your research, and
- how to secure the best sources of publication.
The final part of the book considers the philosophy and psychology of research work and includes an exploration of the cognitive biases which may affect researchers.
How to be a Researcher will be particularly useful for masters and doctoral students in the behavioral and social sciences, and also for early career academics developing research within a university career.
Evans and Over argue that people have a high degree of rationality1 but only a limited capacity for rationality2. The book re-interprets the psychological literature on reasoning and decision making, showing that many normative errors, by abstract standards, reflect the operation of processes that would normally help to achieve ordinary goals. Topics discussed include relevance effects in reasoning and decision making, the influence of prior beliefs on thinking, and the argument that apparently non-logical reasoning can reflect efficient decision making. The authors also discuss the problem of deductive competence - whether people have it, and what mechanism can account for it.
As the book progresses, increasing emphasis is given to the authors' dual process theory of thinking, in which a distinction between tacit and explicit cognitive systems is developed. It is argued that much of human capacity for rationality1 is invested in tacit cognitive processes, which reflect both innate mechanisms and biologically constrained learning. However, the authors go on to argue that human beings also possess an explicit thinking system, which underlies their unique - if limited - capacity to be rational.
The subject of thinking is the oldest in the whole science of psychology, going back to well before the separation of the disciplines of philosophy and psychology. Originally published in 1983, this collection of up-to-date critical essays about thinking – with particular emphasis on reasoning – is written from the perspective of psychologists who are themselves actively engaged in research into the nature of human thought.
The editor’s introduction identifies the major issues which have traditionally concerned students of human thought, and provides an historical background. It describes how at first the subject was studied by introspection, and how this method fell into disrepute at the end of last century. A satisfactory alternative has not yet emerged, although much recent work is based on the information-processing model, which sees the brain as a sophisticated computer. Consequently the papers presented in this volume deal with a wide range of issues, and a number of different experimental tasks and paradigms. They cover most current approaches to the theory and methodology of cognitive psychology, including problem solving, the relationship between language and thought, and reasoning.
Originally published in 1982, this was an extensive and up-to-date review of research into the psychology of deductive reasoning, Jonathan Evans presents an alternative theoretical framework to the rationalist approach which had dominated much of the published work in this field at the time.
The review falls into three sections. The first is concerned with elementary reasoning tasks, in which response latency is the prime measure of interest. The second and third sections are concerned with syllogistic and propositional reasoning respectively, in which interest has focused on the explanation of frequently observed logical errors. In an extended discussion it is argued that reasoning processes are content specific, and give little indication of the operation of any underlying system of logical competence. Finally, a dual process theory of reasoning, with broad implications and connections with other fields of psychology, is elaborated and assessed in the light of recent evidence.
In the World Library of Psychologists series, international experts themselves present career-long collections of what they judge to be their finest pieces - extracts from books, key articles, salient research findings, and their major theoretical and practical contributions. Jonathan St B T Evans is amongst the foremost cognitive psychologists of his generation, having been influential in spearheading developments in the psychological study of reasoning from its very beginnings in the 1970s up to the present day. This volume of self-selected papers recognises Professor Evan’s major contribution to the psychological study of thinking and reasoning by bringing together his most influential and important works.
Early selections in the book focus upon experimental studies of reasoning - matching bias in the Wason selection task, belief bias in syllogistic reasoning, and also seminal work on the understanding of conditional statements. The later selections include Evans’ work on more general forms of dual process and dual system theory, and his recent account of two minds in one brain. The volume also contains chapters which highlight Evans’ contribution to the topic of human rationality, and also his influence on the development of the "new paradigm" in the psychology of reasoning.
The key developments in the psychology of reasoning are paralleled by those in Evans’s own intellectual history, and the book will therefore make essential reading for all researchers in the psychology of reasoning, and a wider audience of graduate and upper-level undergraduate students with an interest in reasoning and/or dual process theory.