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

Tel Aviv University, Tell Afif, Tel Aviv, Israel
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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Available from: Magda Osman
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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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    • "From this perspective, mental models may be unstable, inaccurate, inconsistent, and incomplete, and they may change continually as more information is noticed, acquired, or remembered. However, their construction or deployment is expected to be guided and constrained by the explicit and implicit cognitive resources available to any given individual (e.g., prior knowledge, ontological presuppositions, intuitive heuristics), as well as by the most salient features of the task at hand (Evans, 2006; Greca & Moreira, 2000; Osman & Stavy, 2006). Mental model reasoning relies on qualitative relations, such as whether one quantity is greater or less than another (Gentner, 2002). "
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