What should replace the Turing Test? A commentary by Johnson-Laird and Ragni

Phil Johnson-Laird and Marco Ragni note in a new commentary published in Intelligent Computing that the Turing test, whose aim was to establish whether machines can think, is now obsolete: modern chatbots and AI tools can pass the...

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Our dearest Bruno Bara (1949-2023)

Bruno Bara, our dear friend and colleague, passed away on November 7th, 2023. Bara was warm, jovial, and brimming with energy and ideas. He made fundamental contributions to the study of deductive reasoning in collaboration with his...

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Impossible worlds and how people simulate them: new M&C paper by Byrne

Ruth Byrne published a new paper in Memory & Cognition that describes how people think of hypothetical impossibilities, such as: “if people were made of steel, they would not bruise easily”. Reasoners treat the conditional as true,...

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Celebrating Phil Johnson-Laird and 40 years of mental models research

In late July 2023, a meeting at University College London was held to honor Phil Johnson-Laird on the 40th anniversary of the publication of his groundbreaking book, Mental Models: Towards a Cognitive Science of Language, Inference, and...

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How people mentally represent order and equivalence

Recent work by Ulrich von Hecker (Cardiff University) and colleagues investigated the impact of relational semantics on mental models and their structural properties. Their studies reveal a reversal of the symbolic distance effect (SDE), which typically indicates...

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Motor imagery and engagement favour spatial reasoning

Francesco Ianì and his colleagues published new studies in Memory & Cognition on how motor imagery engages spatial reasoning, in line with the idea that spatial reasoning depends on constructing and maintaining mental models. Their abstract is here:...

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Reasoning as a tool

A new commentary by Amelia Gangemi, out in Exploring Contextualism and Performativity, argues that reasoning is a tool that serves individual goals. Gangemi makes the point that rationality is not a one-size-fits-all delineation, but that rationality helps people achieve their...

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Groundbreaking study in Science Advances on how spatial education improves relational reasoning

Rob Cortes, a graduate student in Georgetown’s Psychology Department, led a team of researchers on a groundbreaking investigation, now out in Science Advances, on how spatial education in a real-world classroom context improves verbal reasoning. As they...

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Orenes et al. on eyetracking causal and counterfactual negation

Isabel Orenes, Orlando Espino, and Ruth Byrne published a new paper in QJEP on how people comprehend affirmative and negative counterfactuals and causal assertions. Their results corroborate the view that people understand counterfactuals by thinking about two...

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What it means to “want” something: A model-based theory

Hillary Harner spent much of her time in my group at NRL exploring how people comprehend the word “want”. In a new paper now out in Cognitive Science, we outline how people interpret and reason about want: they build...

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