The role of cognitive and socio-cognitive conflict in learning to reason

Mind and Society 7 (1):1-19 (2007)
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Abstract

The mental model theory claims that the ability to falsify is at the core of human rationality. We assume that cognitive conflicts (CCs) and socio-cognitive conflicts (SCCs) induce falsification, and thus improve syllogistic reasoning performance. Our first study assesses adults’ ability to reason in two different conditions in a single experimental session. In both conditions the participants are presented with conclusions alternative to their own. In the CC condition they are told that these conclusions are casual, in the SCC condition they are told they have been produced by another individual. The second study is analogous to the first, with the exception that the participants deal with the two conditions in two different experimental sessions. The overall results reveal that falsification is enhanced by conflicts experienced at the cognitive level. The results also reveal that learning to reason occurs in adults, when tested in two distinct experimental periods.

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