Towards a descriptivist psychology of reasoning and decision making.

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dc.contributor.author Evans, J. St. B. T.
dc.contributor.author Elqayam, Shira
dc.date.accessioned 2011-08-24T08:55:49Z
dc.date.available 2011-08-24T08:55:49Z
dc.date.issued 2011
dc.identifier.citation Evans, J.St.B.T. and Elqayam, S. (2011). Towards a descriptivist psychology of reasoning and decision making. Behavioural and Brain Sciences. 34 (5), pp. 275-290 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2086/5175
dc.description.abstract Our target article identified normativism as the view that rationality should be evaluated against unconditional normative standards. We believe this to be entrenched in the psychological study of reasoning and decision making and argued that it is damaging to this empirical area of study, calling instead for a descriptivist psychology of reasoning and decision making. The views of 29 commentators (from philosophy and cognitive science as well as psychology) were mixed, including some staunch defences of normativism, but also a number that were broadly supportive of our position, although critical of various details. In particular many defended a position that we call ‘soft normativism’, which sees a role for normative evaluation within boundaries alongside more descriptive research goals. In response, we clarify our use of the term ‘instrumental rationality’ and add discussion of ‘epistemic rationality’ defining both as descriptive and non-normative concepts. We consider the debate with reference to dual process theory, the new paradigm psychology of reasoning and empirical research strategy in these fields. We also discuss cognitive variation by age, intelligence and culture and the issue of relative vs absolute definitions of norms. In conclusion, we hope at least to have raised consciousness about the important boundaries between norm and description in the psychology of thinking. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject rationality en
dc.title Towards a descriptivist psychology of reasoning and decision making. en
dc.type Article en
dc.identifier.doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X11001440
dc.researchgroup Psychology
dc.peerreviewed Yes en


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