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Title: The case for a dual-process theory of transitive reasoning
Authors: Wright, BC
Keywords: Children's reasoning;Deduction;Dual-process theory;Neuroscience;Non-human cognition;Transitive inference
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Developmental Review, 32(2), 89 - 124, 2012
Abstract: Ever since its popularisation by Piaget around 60 years ago, transitive reasoning (deductively-inferring A > C from premises A > B and B > C) has been of psychological interest both as a mental phenomenon and as a tool in areas of psychological discourse. However, the focus of interest in it has shifted periodically first from child development, to learning disability, to non-humans and currently to cognitive and clinical neuroscience. Crucially, such shifts have always been plagued by one core question – the question of which of two competing paradigms (extensive-training paradigm versus non-training paradigm) is valid for assessing transitive reasoning as originally conceived in Piagetian research. The continued avoidance of this question potentially undermines several important findings recently reported: Such as about exactly what is involved in deducing transitive inferences, which brain regions are critical for reaching transitive inference, and what links exist between weakened deductive transitivity and mental illnesses like schizophrenia. Here, we offer the view that both of the competing paradigms are indexing transitivity, but each one tends to tap a different aspect of it. Then, we summarise studies from child and adult cognitive psychology, disabilities research, and from cognitive neuroscience. These, together with studies of non-human reasoning, seem to afford a theory of transitive reasoning that has two major components; one deductive but the other associative. It is proposed that only a dual-process theory of transitivity (having analytic versus intuitive routes approximate to deductive versus associative processing respectively) can account both for the variety of findings and the apparently-disparate paradigms. However, fuzzy-trace theory (“Gist” processes and representations), if not already embodying such a dual-process theory, will need to be incorporated into any complete theory.
Description: This is the post-print version of the final paper published in Developmental Review. The published article is available from the link below. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. Copyright @ 2012 Elsevier B.V.
ISSN: 0273-2297
Appears in Collections:Psychology
Dept of Life Sciences Research Papers

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