Dual Processes in Mental State Understanding: Is Theorising Synonymous with Intuitive Thinking and is Simulation Synonymous with Reflective Thinking?


In this paper we develop an idea first mooted by Wilkinson, Ball, and Cooper (2010), which is that the dichotomy between theory-based and simulation-based reasoning in the context of mental state understanding is synonymous with the distinction between intuitive and reflective thinking in dual-process accounts of human reasoning (e.g., Evans, 2010). To support this proposal we draw upon a range of concepts and findings deriving from both mainstream reasoning research and from studies of social cognition. We also consider the implications of our proposal for the formulation of an integrative approach to understanding reasoning in all of its many manifestations, whether undertaken for the attainment of socially-oriented goals or for the purposes of learning and discovery.

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