New chapter by García-Madruga et al. on deductive reasoning and executive function

Juan García-Madruga and colleagues recently published a chapter in the compendium Inhibitory Control Training: A Multidisciplinary Approach. The chapter explores on attention, executive function, and their interplay in maintaining and accessing mental models. The abstract is available here:

Executive functions include online working memory’s executive processes and other off-line functions such as task revising and planning. Deductive reasoning requires the construction and manipulation of representations and can be defined as a kind of updating process driven by reasoners’ meta-deductive knowledgeand goals. The main executive functions involved in reasoning are: (a) to focus and sustain attention; (b) to switch attention between component tasks; (c) to activate and update representations; (d) to inhibit automatic processes and discard irrelevant information; and (e) to revise reasoning process and result. A metacognitive training procedure on executive functions to improve deductive reasoning in secondary school students is presented. This procedure is mainly based on the application of two meta-deductive concepts (consistency, necessity) and two meta- deductive strategies (searching for counterexamples and exhaustivity). Our theoretical assumption is that efficiency on complex and novel cognitive abilities may be improved by specific instruction on the executive processes involved. The training procedure presented in this work highlights the special role that two executive functions (EFs) have in the improvement of deductive reasoning: inhibitory control of intuitive responses and revision of reasoning process and conclusions.

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