The development of rational thinking

Insights from the heuristics and biases literature and dual process models

Authored by: Maggie E. Toplak

The Routledge International Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138849303
eBook ISBN: 9781315725697
Adobe ISBN:


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There is a long history and tradition of studying children’s reasoning and thinking, but there is still a relatively short history of this literature integrating and building on the insights from the heuristics and biases research tradition and dual process models. The heuristics and biases work and dual process models have been studied more extensively in adults. That people make systematic errors in judgment on heuristics and biases tasks was one of the early observations made in the heuristics and biases literature (Kahneman, 2011). Explaining performance on these tasks (and on experimental tasks from the reasoning literature) has become rooted in what are now dual process models of reasoning (Frankish & Evans, 2009). Further, individual differences in cognitive abilities and thinking dispositions have been shown to converge with patterns of performance on these tasks (Stanovich, 1999; 2011; Stanovich & West, 2000). These insights and models have had significant implications for modern cognitive science models of reasoning in adults, and have parallel implications for understanding the development of reasoning.

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