Relational Processing in Reasoning: The role of Working Memory
Graeme S. Halford, Glenda Andrews, William H. Wilson (2014)
34-52 in Aidan Feeney and Valerie Thompson (eds.) Reasoning as Memory. Hove, UK: Psychology Press. ISBN: 978-1848721487
Because this is a book chapter, there is no abstract. The following summary is an excerpt from the conclusion of the chapter.
Analytic reasoning depends on construction of representations in working memory that correspond to the relations entailed in the premises of a deductive inference problem. Similar correspondences exist for other types of reasoning. The theory of relational knowledge captures the properties of higher cognition, including representation of propositions, the implicit-explicit distinction, compositionality, higherorder representations, equivalence of distinct tasks at the same level of structural complexity, strategic modifiability and systematicity. Structural alignment of elements into the roles of a relational representation is the factor that crucially distinguishes relational knowledge from more basic processes such as association. The theory of relational knowledge takes account of cognitive complexity as captured in the relational complexity metric and the Method for Analysis of Relational Complexity (MARC). In deductive inference the representation will be influenced by semantic factors, but is also constrained by the requirement that there must be structural correspondence between the representation and the premises. This is essentially consistent with "mental models" accounts of deductive inference, in that both depend on construction of representations in working memory. The role of working memory is based on assignment to a coordinate system, which enables construction of relational representations.