Simon Handley

Simon Handley
Macquarie University

Professor Handley’s research focuses on the psychology of reasoning and the interplay between logic and beliefs in rational judgment. Whilst on the one hand, people regularly achieve goals that depend upon adherence to logical principles and rational thought, they simultaneously often fail to solve even the simplest of cognitive puzzles, relying instead on heuristics that draw upon beliefs or similar associative processes. In his most recent research, Professor Handley has developed a range of experimental techniques that appear to paint a more optimistic picture of human judgment, one in which reasoners show an intuitive appreciation of logical structure. His work suggests that people are influenced by the logical validity of arguments even in the absence of explicit instruction to attend to these features. A key challenge remains in identifying the processes the underpin intuitive logic and mapping the extent to which reasoners show awareness of this influence on their thinking.

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