Cognitive Neuroscience of Thinking

The study of thinking in psychology is distributed over three largely independent branches: problem solving, reasoning, and judgment and decision-making. These domains are delineated by the type of tasks they study and the underlying formal apparatus they appeal to in their explanatory framework. The problem solving literature (Newell & Simon, 1972) studies tasks such as cryptarithmetic, theorem proving, Tower of Hanoi, and also more open-ended, real-world problems such as planning, design, and even scientific induction, among others. The basic theoretical framework is one of search through a problem space using the formal apparatus of production rules (and more generally, recursive function theory). The reasoning literature (Evans, Newstead, & Byrne, 1993)is largely focused on deductive inference tasks and draws upon the formal apparatus of deductive inference. The judgment and decision-making literature (Kahneman, Slovic, & Tversky, 1988)uses such tasks as the base rate fallacy, conjunction fallacy, etc. and draws upon the formal apparatus of probability theory. The goal of these psychological enterprises is to articulate the underlying cognitive mechanisms of thinking. Unfortunately, there is little or no communications across the subdomains.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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