The Nature of Reasoning

Front Cover
Robert J. Sternberg, Jacqueline P. Leighton
Cambridge University Press, 2004 - Psychology - 470 pages
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We are bombarded with information - press releases, television news, internet websites, and office memos, just to name a few - on a daily basis. However, the important conclusions that may or need to be inferred from such information are typically not provided. We must draw the conclusions by ourselves. How do we draw these conclusions? This 2004 book addresses how we reason to reach sensible conclusions. The purpose of this book is to organise in one volume what is known about reasoning, such as its structural prerequisites, its mechanisms, its susceptibility to pragmatic influences, its pitfalls, and the bases for its development. Given that reasoning underlies so many of our intellectual activities - when we learn, criticise, analyse, judge, infer, evaluate, optimise, apply, discover, imagine, devise, and create - we stand to gain a great deal if we can learn to define, operate, apply, and nurture our reasoning.
  

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Contents

Defining and Describing Reason
3
Reasoning and Brain Function
12
Working Memory and Reasoning
49
The Role of Prior Belief in Reasoning
78
Task Understanding
103
Strategies and Knowledge Representation
129
Mental Models and Reasoning
169
MentalLogic Theory What It Proposes and Reasons to Take This Proposal Seriously
205
Cognitive Heuristics Reasoning the Fast and Frugal Way
273
The Assessment of Logical Reasoning
291
The Development of Deductive Reasoning
313
The Evolution of Reasoning
339
Individual Differences in Thinking Reasoning and Decision Making
375
Teaching Reasoning
410
What do We Know about the Nature of Reasoning?
443
Index
456

Heuristics and Reasoning I Making Deduction Simple
234

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About the author (2004)

Jacqueline P. Leighton is Professor of Educational Psychology and Director of the Centre for Research in Applied Measurement and Evaluation (CRAME). She is also registered as a psychologist by the College of Alberta Psychologists. Her specialization is educational assessment and cognitive psychology, with an emphasis on test development and validity analysis. Dr Leighton's current research is on identifying and evaluating methods for generating cognitive models for educational assessment practice. Her research has been funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Education Statistics Council (CESC) and is currently funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

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