Artificial Intelligence Review

, Volume 15, Issue 1–2, pp 29–62 | Cite as

Aligning Logical and Psychological Perspectives on Diagrammatic Reasoning

  • Keith Stenning
  • Oliver Lemon


We advance a theoretical framework which combines recent insights of research in logic, psychology, and formal semantics, on the nature of diagrammatic representation and reasoning. In particular, we wish to explain the varied efficacy of reasoning and representing with diagrams. In general we consider diagrammatic representations to be restricted in expressive power, and we wish to explain efficacy of reasoning with diagrams via the semantical and computational properties of such restricted `languages'. Connecting these foundational insights (from semantics and complexity theory) to the psychology of reasoning with diagrams requires us to develop the notion of the availability (to an agent) of constraints operating within representation systems, as a consequence of their direct semanticinterpretation. Thus we offer a number of fundamentaldefinitions as well as a research programme which alignscurrent efforts in the logical and psychological analysis ofdiagrammatic representation systems.

diagrammatic reasoning logic psychology efficacy formal semantics complexity constraints availability direct interpretation 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keith Stenning
    • 1
  • Oliver Lemon
    • 2
  1. 1.Human Communication Research CentreEdinburgh UniversityUK
  2. 2.Center for the Study of Language and InformationStanford UniversityUSA

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