Thinking and Reasoning: A Very Short Introduction [#533]
Thinking and Reasoning: A Very Short Introduction [#533]


  • Analyses the uniquely human capacity to think and reason, which sets us apart from all other animals
  • Explores the psychological processes involved in problem solving, decision making, and reasoning
  • Describes the various approaches, from past theories to present day understanding of impact of past memory and cognitive biases

Our extraordinary capacity to reason and solve problems sets us aside from other animals, but our evolved thinking processes also leave us susceptibile to bias and error. The study of thinking and reasoning goes back to Aristotle, and was one of the first topics to be studied when psychology separated from philosophy. 

In this Very Short Introduction Jonathan Evans explores cognitive psychological approaches to understanding the nature of thinking and reasoning, problem solving, and decision making. He shows how our problem solving capabilities are hugely dependent on also having the imagination to ask the right questions, and the ability to see things from a completely new perspective. Beginning by considering the approaches of the behaviourists and the Gestalt psychologists, he moves on to modern explorations of thinking, including hypothetical thinking, conditionals, deduction, rationality, and intuition. Covering the role of past learning, IQ, and cognitive biases, Evans also discusses the idea that there may be two different ways of thinking, arising from our evolutionary history. 


1: Introduction and history
2: Problem solving
3: Thinking hypothetically
4: Decision making
5: Reasoning
6: Are we rational?
7: From dual processes to two minds
Further Reading


Jonathan St B. T. Evans, Emeritus Professor, School of Psychology, Plymouth University
Jonathan St B. T. Evans is Emeritus Professor at the School of Psychology, Plymouth University, where he was previously Professor of Cognitive Psychology. He has spent his entire career in the study of thinking and reasoning, and was involved in setting up the journal of the same name (published by Taylor and Francis). He has authored a number of books, including Hypothetical Thinking (Psychology Press, 2007) and Thinking Twice (OUP, 2010), and two with the philosopher David Over, presenting a new theory of conditionals (Rationality and Reasoning, Psychology Press, 1996; If, OUP, 2004).

"This new addition to the "very short introduction" series a highly readable and thought provoking read ... This text is ideal reading for those studying psychology, problem solving, philosophy, cognitive bias, research design, evidence based practice, and anyone curious about why we think, reason and make choices." - Kate Jack, Nursing Times

"No one in our field but Jonathan Evans could pack so much information and erudition into such a small space. Only Evans could have spanned the areas of reasoning and decision making and tied them together through his deep knowledge of dual-process theory and hypothetical thinking." - Advance praise from Keith E. Stanovich, Emeritus Professor of Applied Psychology and Human Development, University of Toronto

"Jonathan Evans, a leading cognitive psychologist, has written an account of studies of thinking and reasoning, condensing a vast range of topics into an amazingly succinct synopsis." - Advance praise from Philip Johnson-Laird, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Princeton University


ISBN : 9780198787259

Jonathan St. B. T. Evans
144 ページ
111 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions





Thinking and Reasoning: A Very Short Introduction [#533]

Thinking and Reasoning: A Very Short Introduction [#533]

Thinking and Reasoning: A Very Short Introduction [#533]