Module 5 Notes
Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4

Thinking and Reasoning

Section 2, Article 3 - As previously mentioned, adolescents engage in , or “if-then” reasoning, which eventually gives rise to deductive reasoning. This type of thinking occurs when an individual starts with a broad statement or principle and uses logical steps to decipher specifics, also known as top-down reasoning (; ). In the concrete operation stage, individuals still base their reasoning on their own experiences, known as inductive reasoning. In contrast, those in the formal operational stage can apply principles that they have not personally experienced to specific examples and individual cases. Inductive reasoning is the style of reasoning where one begins with one or a few specific pieces of information and uses logical steps to come to broad, general conclusion, also known as bottom-up reasoning.

Like the notion that impulse control and sensation-seeking are two mental drives, cognitive psychologists have conceived a dual-process model to explain the counterbalance of intuition and logic (). This dual-process model posits that the human brain is composed of one network for handling emotional stimuli and another for analytical processing. Here analytic thought is seen as a type of thinking that relies greatly on logic and reason and reflects analysis— like in a methodical ranking of pros and cons, costs and consequences, or prospects and facts. Conversely, intuitive thinking is based on an emotion or a premonition— not necessarily rational reasoning— and is influenced by previous experiences and cultural conventions. While intuitive thinking reigns supreme, logic takes a back seat. Despite teens being capable of using logic, they find that emotional intuitive thinking is quicker and more gratifying to them. As individuals age, analytical reasoning tends to become their preferred mode of thinking (; ).

Common pitfalls of logic occur at all stages of life, but compared to their older peers, young adolescents are more likely to be overconfident in their illogical ideas (). Temperance is developed with age. Many adolescents fall into what is known as the sunk cost fallacy, which is the misguided belief that continued investment is reasonable and necessary if one has already invested a sum of money, time, or effort into a project that would otherwise be lost (). Furthermore, individuals do this without considering the overall losses associated with further investment. In the adolescent decision-making process, they commonly make the mistake of disregarding information about how often a particular behavior or characteristic occurs. This is known as base rate neglect, and it can result in illogical decisions and beliefs, which are typical in the teenage years ().

Adolescents and the Brain
Technology and the Teen