1 Descriptive Approach Pragmatic Reasoning Schemas (Cheng & Holyoak) Explanation of how realistic content (i.e., deontic content) facilitates critical thinking“schemas” – memories“pragmatic” = practicalWe have memories for reasoning in practical situations
2 Schemas (i.e., memories)P1: if the action is to be taken, then the precondition must be satisfied.P2: if the action is not to be taken, then the precondition need not be satisfied.P3: if the precondition is satisfied, then the action may be taken.P4: if the precondition is not satisfied, then the action must not be taken.
3 P1If the action is to be taken, then the precondition must be satisfied.Everyday examples: drinking alcohol, you have to be 21 to do soDrinking alcohol (action to be taken)Being 21 (precondition)
4 P4If the precondition is not satisfied, then the action must not be taken.E.g., If you’re not 21, then you can’t drink alcoholIf you’re not 21, then you can’t gambleIf you’re not a female, then you can’t use the female restroom
5 P1-P4 apply to everyday situations In everyday situations, our minds automatically, unconsciously applies the appropriate rulesIn abstract situations, the rules are not relevant, and don’t applyExpect about 10% of the population to get the right answer on the Wason selection task
6 Realistic Task BEER WATER 16 22 LAW: You have to be 21 or older to drink alcoholP1 applies to BEER card (action of drinking alcohol) therefore investigate age of BEER drinker (i.e., turn over that card)
7 (cont.)P4 applies to the 16 card (being 21 or over is the precondition) turn over card to see that they are NOT drinking alcohol (action that must not be taken)We get the right answer by using the pragmatic reasoning schemas
8 Application of pragmatic reasoning schemas Apply to any real-life situation or paper-and-pencil that involves actions and preconditions
9 Social Exchange Theory Competing theory to explain why people do better with realistic or deontic contentCosmides, 1989Evolutionary theory evolution results in some critical thinking skills being highly developed and others notGood at social exchanges: If you take a benefit, then you pay a cost.
10 More on social exchange theory If you get a benefit without a cost you’re cheatingWe are naturally (without training) good at finding cheatersAlso good at noticing the requirements for getting a benefitSituations in life involving costs, benefits, cheaters, or requirements, are situations in which we are naturally good at critical thinking
11 Social contractsSituations involving two or more people where there is some agreement about requirements, costs, and benefitsPeople are naturally good critical thinkers in these situationsIn BEER-WATER example, the social contract is the law (specifically, the law with respect to drinking age)
12 Abstract situationsAbstract situations (e.g., EK47 problem) do not involve social contractsTherefore, we are not naturally good at thinking in these situations
13 Heuristic/Analytic Theory Evans, 1989Do critical thinking in two stepsFirst step = heuristic part (“heuristic” = rule-of-thumb, not guaranteed to work, only a guide)Second step = analytic part
14 Heuristics People look at a critical thinking problem Pick out parts of the problem that seem relevant to the solutionUse heuristics to decide what parts of a problem are relevant to a solutionOccurs quickly and unconsciously
15 Application of heuristic/analytic theory Example, EK47 problemRule is: if a card has a vowel on one side, then it has an even number on the otherUse heuristic of matching = pick out parts of the problem that match each otherE.g., start with E and “vowel” + 4 and “even number”
16 Analytical partApply logical rules that we know to the results of the heuristic partPeople make mistakes because they used a heuristic (not a guaranteed correct answer) to determine what parts of the problem to analyze