On Development

Philip N. Johnson-Laird

in How We Reason

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199551330
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191701580 | DOI:
On Development

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This chapter addresses how humans can develop the ability to reason. The correct synthesis that explicates intellectual development must combine genes and experience. It is assumed that the vast differences in the ability to reason from one person to another are attributable to two factors: differences in knowledge and differences in computational power. The way to increase computational power is to increase working memory. Different aspects of mental architecture are evaluated. Much of a person's reasoning may have developed from innate abilities. They underlie the construction of models from perception, imagination, and language. The development of language depends on both nature and nurture. Reasoning may also depend on an innate basis for imagining possibilities, and for manipulating models of them. Its development rests on the growth of knowledge, including concepts and meanings, and on an increase in the capacity of working memory.

Keywords: reasoning; intellectual development; knowledge; computational power; innate

Chapter.  6559 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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