chapter  7
26 Pages

Relevance and Reasoning

Research on deductive reasoning has proceeded rapidly in the past decade. Work on conditional reasoning has accounted for many of the studies and, to cover adequately, required a full three chapters in the recent review of the field by Evans, Newstead and Byrne (1993). Progression in empirical findings has not, however, led to a convergence of theoretical opinion-in fact, quite the reverse. Since the earlier review by Evans (1982) we have seen the development of a host of new theories which have been applied to the findings of reasoning experiments, as well as significant development of the older theory that people reason by mental logics comprising general purpose inference rules (e.g. Rips, 1983, 1989; Braine & O'Brien, 1991). New theories include the mental model theory of reasoning (Johnson-Laird, 1983; Johnson-Laird & Byrne, 1991), heuristic-analytic theory (Evans, 1984; 1989), the theory of pragmatic reasoning schemas (Cheng & Holyoak, 1985) and social contract theory (Cosmides, 1989). The last two, however, have been applied only to the findings of work on a particular paradigm-the Wason selection task, discussed later in this chapter.