Research Interests

My research interests have focused primarily on how lay people reason and make inferences about the world. I have studied inductive inference, causal analysis, and covariation detection. This work showed that people?s everyday-life reasoning was flawed from the standpoint of inadequate use of statistical and other formal inferential rules. A subsequent line of work showed that people?s reasoning was surprisingly subject to correction by training in statistics and other fields that teach probabilistic reasoning, methodological rules, and cost-benefit analysis. More recent work on reasoning compares East Asians with Westerners. I find that Westerners reason analytically, that is, they focus on the object (whether physical or social) and its attributes, and use its attributes to categorize it and apply rules to predict and explain its behavior. In contrast, East Asians reason holistically, that is, they focus on the object in its surrounding field, there is little concern with categories or universal rules, and behavior is explained on the basis of the forces presumed to be operative for the individual case at a particular time. Unlike Westerners, East Asians make little use of formal logic, and instead a variety of ?dialectic? reasoning types are common, including synthesis and transcendence.

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Primary Section

Section 52: Psychological and Cognitive Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 53: Social and Political Sciences