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LEC1- Theories of Thinking Sept 10 2009

Course Code
John Vervaeke

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PSY370: Thinking and Reasoning
LEC1: Theories of Thinking
Sept, 10th, 2009
! thinking is treated as an action and is not like perception
! perception is something that happens to us
! there is no goal in perception, and there is no conscious control over our perceptual
! we cannot correct our perception as opposed to our action
! thinking also has a lot of properties in common with perception
! a lot of thinking happen unconsciously and automatically
ie. problem solving, inference making
these automatic processes follow predictive patterns
! psychotechnology / cultural tool
! standardized culturally transmitting tool used for transmitting information
! ie. literacy, numeracy
Different Types of Theories about Thinking
! Baron, 1994: 3 kinds of theories
! Descriptive explanatory theory
describe how people normally think
come up with causally based explanations of the phenomenon
1st stage: attempt to determine the phenomenon to be explained
! ie. will power some people think does not exist and is not a actual phenomenon
2nd stage: determine if it can be studied scientifically
3rd stage: whats the appropriate framework for studying the phenomenon
! what type of analysis to use
! ie. brain, neurochemistry, etc.
4th stage: determine the mechanisms that cause/explain the phenomenon
! explanation is dependent on causation
! experimentation is the gold standard
Problem facing trying to explain thinking from this theory
! we are constantly correcting each other's rational behaviour
! rational vs. irrational
you are categorically rational but specifically irrational
in order to be irrational we must be able to be rational
! rational vs. arational
arational = something not possible of achieving rationality (ie. chair)
! how ppl actually think, and their deviation from the normative model
! Normative Theories
! study of psychology always have a set of normative theories in the background against
which subjects are judged
! the normative theories we pick must make sense and be ecologically valid/external validity
(the context of experimentation is relatively similar to real world context)
! normative theory are what people should do
! a standard that defines the best way for a thinker to think to achieve their goals
! the ideal way of thinking
! Prescriptive Theory
prescribe a solution
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