Mind & Society

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 27–40 | Cite as

Probabilities, beliefs, and dual processing: the paradigm shift in the psychology of reasoning



In recent years, the psychology of reasoning has been undergoing a paradigm shift, with general Bayesian, probabilistic approaches replacing the older, much more restricted binary logic paradigm. At the same time, dual processing theories have been gaining influence. We argue that these developments should be integrated and moreover that such integration is already underway. The new reasoning paradigm should be grounded in dual processing for its algorithmic level of analysis just as it uses Bayesian theory for its computational level of analysis. Moreover, we propose that, within the new paradigm, these levels of analysis reflect on each other. Bayesianism suggests a specific theoretical understanding of dual processing. Just as importantly, the duality in processing carries over to duality in function; although both types of processes compute degrees of belief, they generate different functions.


Algorithmic and computational levels of explanation Bayesianism Binary logic Degrees of belief Dual processing New paradigm Probabilities Uncertainty 



We thank Jonathan Evans, Laura Macchi, and Maria Bagassi for a critical reading of a previous draft of this paper, Valerie Thompson and the University of Plymouth Thinking and Reasoning group for useful comments. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Sixth London Reasoning Workshop, Birkbeck College, London, July 2011.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Psychology, School of Applied Social Sciences, Faculty of Health and Life SciencesDe Montfort UniversityLeicesterUK
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyDurham UniversityDurhamUK

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