chapter  Chapter Four
28 Pages

The Role of Knowledge and Belief in Reasoning

WithJonathan St B. T. Evans

One of the strongest findings in the psychology of reasoning is that people’s thinking about inferential problems is profoundly influenced by the content and context in which the problems are framed, even though logical form is held constant. Such findings have progressively undermined the view that human reasoning is based on any kind of mental logic and have also provided fertile ground for the development of dual-processing accounts. A widespread view is that since System 1 or heuristic processes are responsible for contextualization (automatic retrieval and application of relevant prior knowledge) then they are the major cause of any content effects observed. By contrast, it has been widely assumed, System 2 analytic reasoning is responsible for the ability to solve problems by decontextualized reasoning that is also manifest in these experiments (Evans, 1989; Stanovich, 1999).