We summarize the argumentative theory of reasoning, which claims that the main function of reasoning is to argue. In this theory, argumentation is seen as being essentially cooperative (people have to listen to others' arguments and be ready to change their mind) but with an adversarial dimension (their goal as argument producers is to convince). Consistent with this theory, the experimental literature shows that solitary reasoning is biased and lazy, whereas reasoning in group discussion produces good results, provided some conditions are met. We formulate recommendations for improving reasoning performance, mainly, to make people argue more and better by creating felicitous conditions for group discussion. We also make some suggestions for improving solitary reasoning, in particular to maximize students' exposure to arguments challenging their positions. Teaching people about the value of argumentation is likely to improve not only immediate reasoning performance but also long-term solitary reasoning skills.
Natural-Born Arguers: Teaching How to Make the Best of Our Reasoning Abilities
L. Erlbaum Associates, Publishers [etc.], Mahwah, N.J. [etc.], Stati Uniti d'America
Educational psychologist 52 (2017): 1–16. doi:10.1080/00461520.2016.1207537