- Series: Cognitive Science (Book 6)
- Paperback: 513 pages
- Publisher: Harvard University Press (1986)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674568826
- ISBN-13: 978-0674568822
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,451,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Mental Models: Towards a Cognitive Science of Language, Inference, and Consciousness (Cognitive Science Series)
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Instead of deductive logic, argues Johnson-Laird, human reasoning is based on the construction and evaluation of mental models of the world around us. We build these models using information from our senses, but also assumptions and long-term knowledge from memory. The book describes the principles of model construction and makes an extended argument for the superior explanatory power of this approach compared to deductive reasoning. It integrates findings from a broad range of topics, including errors made using syllogistic reasoning, advantages experts have when reasoning about their areas of expertise, human ability to reason with incomplete information, and our extensive use of spatial metaphor to organize knowledge.
The research described in this book played a significant role in easing cognitive science away from overreliance on the computer metaphor for human reasoning. It is thorough and accessible to readers with an introductory background in cognitive psychology. Interested readers may want to continue with the author's latest book-length exploration of this topic in How We Reason.