From what I understand there is (or was) a controversy whether humans reason deductively by constructing mental models and surveying them or by following built-in inference rules of mental logic (usually logical, but perhaps content-specific too). The former is associated with Johnson-Laird and Byrne and the latter with Braine and O'Brien, to name a few prominent proponents.

I was trying to find a survey of the current state of the art, but did not have much luck. Most hits date back to 1990s or 2000s. This is confirmed by the Google Ngram, which shows mental logic peaking in the late 1990s and mental models in the early 2000s, and both dropping dramatically by 2010. Wikipedia does not help much either beyond "scientific debate continues" with references also predating 2010. After 2010 there seem to be (anecdotally) more papers with mental models, but they are narrowly focused, and even 2020 survey by Cárdenas-Figueroa and Navarro does not address the competing theory. Was there ever a resolution? Were they integrated, did both fall out of favor after something new emerged? I am particularly interested in cognitive aspects of mathematical reasoning.


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