Toward a Unified Componential Theory of Human Reasoning.
Technical rept. 1 Jan-30 Mar 78,
YALE UNIV NEW HAVEN CT DEPT OF PSYCHOLOGY
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Human reasoning can be characterized in terms of a unified theory that comprises hierarchically tested subtheories, each of which accounts for performance on successively more narrow tasks. The basic unit of the unified theory is the component It is claimed that a relatively small set of components can account for behavior in a wide range of reasoning tasks, and that individual components are general across the vertical range of the hierarchy. The components and the subtheories in which they are involved are briefly described, and where available, data testing the subtheories are presented as well. The data collected to date are generally consistent with the hierarchical structure proposed in the article. Although none of the accounts of performance are true in the sense of accounting for all of the reliable variance in the data, there are no alternative subtheories that are superior to any of the present ones in accounting for the data, and there is no alternative account at all that attempts to explain the range of reasoning data explained by the unified componential theory. Author