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Thinking and Reasoning. The Elements of Cognition. Think about what thinking does for you… Concept - a mental category that groups objects, relations, activities, abstractions, or qualities having common properties.

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the elements of cognition
The Elements of Cognition
  • Think about what thinking does for you…

Concept - a mental category that groups objects, relations, activities, abstractions, or qualities having common properties.

Basicconcepts have a moderate number of instances thus making them easier to grasp than those with numerous instances.

the elements of cognition3
The Elements of Cognition
  • Prototype - is a representative example of a concept.
  • Propositions - units of meaning that are made up of concepts and that express a single idea.
how do we use concepts
How do we use concepts
  • Concepts cannot simply be layered one on another. We must see their relationship to one another.
  • Propositions - one way of storing and using concepts. They express a unitary idea based on the concept. They are connected through complicated networks of knowledge, association, belief and expectations.
cognitive schemas
Cognitive Schemas
  • Gender schemas represent beliefs and expectations about what it means to be male or female.
  • Cultural schemas represent beliefs and expectations about what it means to be part of a particular group.
mental images7
Mental Images
  • Visual Images - What Shakespeare called ‘the minds eye’
  • How do we measure it? One way is to see how long it takes a subject to mentally rotate an image.

Small ones contains less detail than larger ones.

They occur in a mental “space” of a fixed size.

reasoning and creativity
Reasoning and Creativity
  • Reasoning - that powerful mental process that involves operating on information and coming to conclusions.
  • Formal Reasoning - algorithm
    • Deductive reasoning - a form of reasoning in which a conclusion follows necessarily form a set of premises. If the premises are true the conclusion must be true.
    • Inductive reasoning - A form of reasoning in which the premises provide support for a conclusion, but it could still be false.
reasoning and creativity10
Reasoning and Creativity
  • Informal Reasoning
    • Algorithms and logical reasoning cannot solve every kind of problem.
    • In some cases a variety of approaches, viewpoints and possible solutions may present themselves.
    • In some cases the information may be incomplete, conflicting or contradictory.

Utilizes heuristics

Utilizes heuristics

Utilizes heuristics

dialectical reasoning
Dialectical Reasoning
  • Dialectical reasoning is a process in which opposing facts or ideas are weighed and compared with the goal of determining the best solution or to resolving differences.

“up and back between contradictory lines of reasoning, using each to critically cross-examine the other.”Richard Paul (1984) Philosopher.

creative thinking
Creative Thinking

You must use no more than 4 lines to connect all the dots without removing your pencil from the paper.

Copy the diagram on a piece of paper.

jean piaget

Jean Piaget

Stages of Intellectual Development

key terms in piaget s theory
Key Terms in Piaget’s Theory
  • Assimilation - what you do when you fit new information into your present knowledge and beliefs (schemas)
key terms in piaget s theory15
Key Terms in Piaget’s Theory
  • Accommodation - what you do when, as a result of undeniable new information, you must change or modify your existing schemas.
stages of development
Discussion Piaget's theory identifies four developmental stages and the processes by which children progress through them. The four stages are:

1. Sensorimotor stage (birth - 2 years old)--The child, through physical interaction with his or her environment, builds a set of concepts about reality and how it works. This is the stage where a child does not know that physical objects remain in existence even when out of sight (object permanence).

Stages of Development
stages of development17
2. Preoperational stage (ages 2-7)--The child is not yet able to conceptualize abstractly and needs concrete physical situations.

3. Concrete operations (ages 7-11)--As physical experience accumulates, the child starts to conceptualize, creating logical structures that explain his or her physical experiences. Abstract problem solving is also possible at this stage. For example, arithmetic equations can be solved with numbers, not just with objects.

Stages of Development
piaget s stages
Piaget’s Stages
  • 4. Formal operations (beginning at ages 11-15)--By this point, the child's cognitive structures are like those of an adult and include conceptual reasoning.
beyond piaget how adults think
Beyond Piaget: How Adults Think
  • Where do you stand on the issue of genetic engineering?
  • How safe do you consider food additives?
  • Is the news media objective?
  • What causes terrorism?
how do adults respond to these questions
How do adults respond to these questions?
  • Reflective judgment - often called critical thinking - the ability to question assumptions, evaluate evidence, relate that evidence to a theory or opinion, consider alternative interpretations, and reach conclusions that can be defended reasonably or plausibly while being ready to reassess those conclusions based on new evidence.
  • King and Kitchener studies these questions and found the following:
    • There are seven cognitive stages on the way to reflective thought.
    • At each stage different assumptions about how things are known and use different ways of justifying their beliefs.
    • Each stage builds on the skills of the prior stage.
barriers to reasoning
Think logically?

What’s that?



Barriers to Reasoning

“Although most people have the capacity to think logically, reason dialectically, and make judgments reflectively, it is abundantly clear that they don’t always do so”

Make judgments reflectively?

various biases
Various Biases
  • The Hindsight Bias - aka the “knew it all along” bias - with the information based on hindsight they see the outcome as inevitable and over estimate the probability they could have predicted the outcome.
  • Potential example of the hindsight bias is the predictability of September 11, 2001.
various biases25
Various Biases
  • Avoidance of Loss - we all try to avoid or minimize the risk in making decisions.

Make a choice: There is a disease that is likely to kill 600 people. Would you prefer a program that will definitely save 200 people or one that has a 1/3 probability of saving all 600 and a 2/3 chance of saving none?

Make a choice: You have available a program in which 400 people will definitely die and a program in which there is a 1/3 probability of nobody dying and a 2/3’s probability that all 600 will die. Which to you choose?

various biases26
Various Biases

The Availability Heuristic - the tendency to judge the probability of an event by how easy it is to think of examples or instances.

  • Exaggerating the Improbable - the inclination to exaggerate the probability of very rare events.

This explains why so many people buy lottery tickets or buy insurance before a flight.

biases continues
Biases Continues
  • Confirmation Bias - the tendency to notice and accept evidence that confirms what we already believe and ignore or reject information that disconfirms our ideas.

If a card has a vowel on one side, then it has an even number on the other side. Which two cards do you need to turn over to find out?





cognitive consistency
Cognitive Consistency
  • Confirmation bias can be helpful in that we don’t need to continually change our minds.
  • The downside is it can create cognitive dissonance
motivating conditions to reduce dissonance
Motivating Conditions to Reduce Dissonance
  • When you need to justify a choice or decision that you freely made. (buyers remorse)
  • When your actions violate your self-concept. (self should be consistent across situations)
  • When you put a lot of effort into a decision, only to find the results less than you hoped for. (leads to justification of effort)