Intuitions and Unconscious Reasoning

Philip N. Johnson-Laird

in How We Reason

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199551330
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191701580 | DOI:
Intuitions and Unconscious Reasoning

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This chapter describes a theory of the processes of unconscious inference. This theory has implications for human emotions and for the role of reasoning in mental illnesses. It specifically reports examples of inferences as a precursor to an analysis of unconscious reasoning. Unconscious inferences underlie hunches, intuitions, gut reactions, guesses, and insights. The chapter emphasizes that unconscious reasoning takes place in at least three ways. It can be unconscious as a whole and influence human behavior outside its awareness. It can yield intuitions that humans are aware of, though they are unaware of inferring them. And it supports even the simplest of their conscious inferences. The theory of mental architecture states that inferences can be initiated either consciously or unconsciously.

Keywords: unconscious inference; unconscious reasoning; intuitions; mental illnesses; human emotions

Chapter.  5859 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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