Logical, Statistical, and Causal Reasoning: Compartmentalized or Generic Processes?

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In contrast to the tendency to divide human reasoning into statistical, logical and causal (the “compartmentalized reasoner” approach), I propose two generic reasoning operations, focalizing and linking, in a variety of reasoning tasks. These operations affect sensitivity to judgment-relevant information, and are related to pseudodiagnostic judgments, judgmental confidence, sensitivity to sample size, to base rate, to target information, and to consensus information, false affirmation of the consequent, false denial of the antecedent, and the neglect of not-q in the Wason selection task. It is concluded that the three reasoning literatures, judgment under uncertainty, logical reasoning, and attribution, reflect on the same basic cognitive reasoning processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-164
Number of pages48
JournalEuropean Review of Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1991


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