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date: 19 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter begins with mental models as the end product of vision, as a repository of knowledge, and as underlying visual imagery. It contrasts them with the alternative hypothesis that mental representations are syntactic expressions in a mental language. To resolve this controversy, it shows that the structure of models, which differs from that of syntactic representations, plays a major role in accounting for the comprehension and memory of discourse. It reports evidence corroborating another major principle of mental models—that they normally represent only what is true—for models of concepts and models of propositions. The chapter then describes how intuitions are based on a single mental model, whereas deductions call for the representation of alternative models, especially those representing counterexamples to putative conclusions. It reports the corroboration of these predictions. Next, it turns to inductive reasoning. It shows how models underlie common forms of induction in daily life, and it reports evidence corroborating the prediction that individuals prefer explanations that resolve inconsistencies over minimal amendments to the offending propositions. Finally, it concludes with an overview of the main principles governing mental models.

Keywords: concepts, deduction, explanation, induction, logic, mental models

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