A few decades ago, when the science ofcognition was in its infancy, the early textbookson cognition began with perceptionand attention and ended with memory. Socalledhigher-level cognition – the mysterious,complicated realm of thinking and reasoning– was simply left out. Things havechanged – any good cognitive text (and thereare many) devotes several chapters to topicssuch as categorization, inductive and deductivereasoning, judgment and decision making,and problem solving. What has still beenmissing, however, is a true handbook forthe field of thinking and reasoning – a bookmeant to be kept close “at hand” by those involvedin the field. Such a book would bringtogether top researchers to write chapters,each of which summarizes the basic conceptsand findings for a major topic, sketchesits history, and provides a sense of the directionsin which research is currently heading.This handbook would provide quickoverviews for experts in each topic area, andmore importantly for experts in allied topicareas (because few researchers can keep upwith the scientific literature over the fullbreadth of the field of thinking and reasoning).Even more crucially, this handbookwould provide an entry point into the fieldfor the next generation of researchers by providinga text for use in classes on thinking andreasoning designed for graduate students andupper-level undergraduates.
The Cambridge Handbook of Thinking andReasoning is intended to be this previouslymissing handbook. The project was first conceivedat the meeting of the Cognitive ScienceSociety in Edinburgh, Scotland, duringthe summer of 2001. The contents ofthe volume are sketched in Chapter 1 . Ouraim is to provide comprehensive and authoritativereviews of all the core topics ofthe field of thinking and reasoning, withmany pointers for further reading. Undoubtedly,there are still omissions, but we haveincluded as much as we could realisticallyfit in a single volume. Our focus is on researchfrom cognitive psychology, cognitivescience, and cognitive neuroscience, but wealso include work related to developmental,social, and clinical psychology; philosophy;economics; artificial intelligence; linguistics;education; law; and medicine. Wehope that scholars and students in all thesefields and others will find this to be a valuablecollection.
We have many to thank for their helpin bringing this endeavor to fruition. PhilipLaughlin, our editor at Cambridge UniversityPress, gave us exactly the balance ofencouragement and patience we needed. Itis fitting that a handbook of thinking andreasoning should bear the imprint and indeedthe name of this illustrious press, withits long history reaching back to the originsof scientific inquiry. Michie Shaw, SeniorProject Manager at TechBooks, providedus with close support throughout thearduous editing process. At UCLA, ChristineVu did a great deal of organizationalwork in her role as our editorial assistantfor the entire project. During this period,our own efforts were supported by grantsR305H030141 from the Institute of EducationSciences and SES-0080375 from theNational Science Foundation to KJH, andfrom Xunesis and National Service ResearchAward MH-064244 from the National Instituteof Mental Health to RGM.Then there are the authors.
Then there are the authors. (It wouldseem a bit presumptuous to call them “our”authors!) People working on tough intellectualproblems sometimes experience a momentof insight – a sense that although manylaborious steps may lay ahead, the basic elementsof a solution are already in place. Suchfortunate people work on happily, confidentthat ultimate success is assured. In preparingthis handbook, we also had our moment of“insight.” It came when all these outstandingresearchers agreed to join our project. Beforethe first chapter was drafted, we knewthe volume was going to be of the highestquality. Along the way, our distinguished authorsgraciously served as each other’s criticsas we passed drafts around, working tomake the chapters as integrated as possible,adding in pointers from one to another. Thenthe authors all changed hats again and wentback to work revising their own chapters inlight of the feedback their peers had provided.We thank you all for making our ownsmall labors a great pleasure.
KEITH J. HOLYOAK
University of California, Los Angeles
ROBERT G. MORRISON
October 2 004