Reasoning in Psychological Illnesses

Philip N. Johnson-Laird

in How We Reason

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199551330
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191701580 | DOI:
Reasoning in Psychological Illnesses

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This chapter explains the statement that emotion takes over mental life and governs what humans do. It also discusses psychological illnesses and reasoning when humans are impaired with such illnesses. It first covers a crucial question: Are there illnesses that have a psychological origin rather than a cause in the pathology of the brain? In particular, it reviews the role of reasoning in psychopathology, and, in the light of recent evidence, proposes a new theory of psychological illnesses developed with Italian colleagues Francesco Mancini and Amelia Gangemi. This theory, also referred to as the ‘hyper-emotion’ theory of psychological illnesses, rests on the account of unconscious reasoning and emotions which is set out earlier in this part of the book. The chapter also addresses the issue as to whether psychological illnesses result from transitions to basic emotions. It is noted that those who are suffering from mental illness make unconscious transitions to basic emotions.

Keywords: psychological illnesses; reasoning; emotion; humans; brain; psychopathology; hyper-emotion theory

Chapter.  5403 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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