Bucciarelli and commenters discuss reasoning in the Italian Journal of Psychology

Monica Bucciarelli recently published a target article in the Giornale Italiano di Psicologia (the Italian Journal of Psychology) and many commenters were invited to respond. Her target article is titled “Imparare a ragionare… e continuare a farlo” (“Learning to reason…and keep doing it”), and the English translation of its abstract is here:

Reasoning, namely the ability to make inferences, is widely investigated in psychology with respect to different cognitive domains. This paper focuses on the inferential processes that occur when we reason in a deductive, inductive and abductive way, in particular during text or discourse comprehension. Such inferential processes are crucial in school learning. If we follow the assumptions of the theory of mental models for reasoning, among the most accredited in the field of experimental cognitive psychology, we can derive good practices for (learning to) reasoning. In particular, the theory assumes that reasoning means building mental models of possibilities, which can be static or dynamic. For example, the formulation of algorithms implies the dynamic representation of a series of steps which, given an input, produce an output, and text comprehension implies a mental simulation of the described events. Relevant for this article, deep reasoning takes time to represent the possibilities consistent with the premises from which we reason and to use strategies. I will argue that the Italian school, as structured, does not favor reasoning.

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