Introduction – Reasoning as a social device
The social context exerts a very important influence on our decisions, which has not been considered in its full extent by research in decision making. Several strategies are available to take social factors into consideration as much as they deserve. The first is to add a minimal layer of social information and social motivation to the typical methods of decision making. The second is to postulate new mechanisms that pertain only to social aspects of decisions, with their attending biases. The third solution is to reexamine some of the mechanisms classically studied in decision making as social devices. This more radical solution is illustrated here with the case of reasoning. It is suggested that reasoning in fact has a social, argumentative function. An argumentative theory of reasoning makes sense of many puzzling findings from decision making and other areas of psychology. It also provides different, more efficient ideas for debiasing. The third strategy may be usefully implemented for other cognitive mechanisms.
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