Bounded rationality, reasoning and dual processing

Authored by: Jonathan St B. T. Evans

Routledge Handbook of Bounded Rationality

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138999381
eBook ISBN: 9781315658353
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



Research on the psychology of reasoning shows that people often make mistakes on logical reasoning problems and that they are greatly influenced by prior beliefs. This led to dual process theories in which Type 2 process, slow and engaging working memory, were seen as necessary for logical reasoning and Type 1 processes, fast and belief-based, often adduced to explain cognitive biases. However, contemporary views of reasoning and rationality have radically modified this picture. Type 2 reasoning is bounded by the cognitive capacity of working memory which it requires for its operation, so that people may struggle with abstract and novel problems. However, expert thinking, for example, that of chess masters, is hugely assisted by fast pattern recognition processes that reflect a history of implicit learning. Type 1 intuitive processing thus compensates to a great extent for the bounds of working memory, while Type 2 processing still allows us to deal with novel aspects of problems. In the new paradigm psychology of reasoning, it is recognised that logic is a poor model for rationality in the real world, and that it is necessary to take account of uncertainty, drawing on prior belief in the process.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.