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Gradual process theory: The role of self-control in syllogistic reasoning

Master Thesis by Christopher B. Germann (PhD, Msc, BSc / Marie Curie Fellow)

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Thesis Abstract.

In the psychological literature logical reasoning is prevalently associated with Type 2 processes (characterized as slow, controlled, limited in capacity, and effortful) whereas belief based judgments are frequently linked to Type 1 processes (described as fast, automatic, high in capacity, and effortless). In two experiments we investigated the effects of ego depletion on simple hypothetical syllogistic reasoning (Experiment 1) and complex categorical syllogistic reasoning (Experiment 2). We manipulated self regulatory resources between groups and participants were subsequently instructed to evaluate conclusions of syllogisms either on the basis of their semantic believability or logical validity. We hypothesized that belief based judgments would be faster and more accurate relative to logic judgments and that ego-depletion would interfere with the latter but not with the former. This hypothesis was motivated by the strength model of self-control (Baumeister et al., 2007) and the default-interventionist account of reasoning (Evans, 2007). The results are discussed in the theoretical framework of dual process theories of reasoning.


Below you find a custom-made “meta-search-tool” I programmed (coded in ActionScript2) which facilitates to effectively search the web for psychology and neuroscience related information.
You can freely download the program as a zipped executable:
https://christopher-germann.de/tools/meta_search_tool_v1.2.zip

Table of Contents

https://christopher-germann.de/wp-content/uploads/master_thesis-table-of-contents.pdf
master_thesis-table-of-contents

The R code associated with various analyses used in this thesis can be found under the following URL I created: http://r-code.ml

Dual system theory: Summary of the features attributed to each system

System 1 System 2
  • Evolutionary (philogenetically) old
  • Unconscious, preconscious
  • Shared with animals
  • Implicit knowledge
  • Automatic
  • Fast
  • Parallel
  • High capacity
  • Intuitive
  • Contextualized
  • Pragmatic
  • Associative
  • Independent of general intelligence
  • Subersonal reasoning
  • Evolutionary (philogenetically) recent
  • Conscious
  • Uniquely (distinctively) human
  • Explicit knowledge
  • Controlled
  • Slow
  • Sequential
  • Low capacity
  • Reflective
  • Abstract
  • Logical
  • Rule-based
  • Linked to general intelligence
  • Personal reasoning

Partially adapted from Frankish, K. (2009). Systems and levels: Dual-system theory and the personal-subpersonal distinction. In J. S. B. T. Evans & K. Frankish (Eds.), In two minds: Dual processes and beyond (p. 89-108). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dual-process models: A multifarious nomenclature

It has been noted that “what matters is not the specific names but the fact of duality” (Baumeister, 2005, p.75).

Nobel lecture by Prof. Daniel Kahneman on “dual-process theory and bounded rationality”

References

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Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. D., & Tice, D. M.. (2007). The Strength Model of Self-Control. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16(6), 351–355.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8721.2007.00534.x
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