Development of intuitive rules: Evaluating the application of the dual-system framework to understanding children's intuitive reasoning

Department of Psychology, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, England.
Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (Impact Factor: 2.99). 01/2007; 13(6):935-53. DOI: 10.3758/BF03213907
Source: PubMed


Theories of adult reasoning propose that reasoning consists of two functionally distinct systems that operate under entirely different mechanisms. This theoretical framework has been used to account for a wide range of phenomena, which now encompasses developmental research on reasoning and problem solving. We begin this review by contrasting three main dual-system theories of adult reasoning (Evans & Over, 1996; Sloman, 1996; Stanovich & West, 2000) with a well-established developmental account that also incorporates a dual-system framework (Brainerd & Reyna, 2001). We use developmental studies of the formation and application of intuitive rules in science and mathematics to evaluate the claims that these theories make. Overall, the evidence reviewed suggests that what is crucial to understanding how children reason is the saliency of the features that are presented within a task. By highlighting the importance of saliency as a way of understanding reasoning, we aim to provide clarity concerning the benefits and limitations of adopting a dual-system framework to account for evidence from developmental studies of intuitive reasoning.

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    • "Indeed, it might not be necessary to posit a dual mind to account for differences in the level of control exerted on cognition. For example, Osman and Stavy (2006) have suggested that intuitive rules (i.e., Type 1 processing in Stanovich's theory) and automatic rules (those rules that have migrated from the algorithmic to the autonomous mind) can be conceptualized as different points in the Dynamic Graded Continuum proposed by Cleeremans and Jiménez (2002) in which implicit, explicit and automatic types of reasoning are ordered according to their level of consciousness within a single reasoning system. A stronger distinction is introduced between the two systems by Ricco and Overton (2011) in their competence-procedural developmental systems theory. "
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