Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Author's Response
Stanovich & West: Individual differences in reasoning

Advancing the rationality debate

Keith E. Stanovich a1 and Richard F. West a2
a1 Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1V6
a2 School of Psychology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22807


In this response, we clarify several misunderstandings of the understanding/acceptance principle and defend our specific operationalization of that principle. We reiterate the importance of addressing the problem of rational task construal and we elaborate the notion of computational limitations contained in our target article. Our concept of thinking dispositions as variable intentional-level styles of epistemic and behavioral regulation is explained, as is its relation to the rationality debate. Many of the suggestions of the commentators for elaborating two-process models are easily integrated into our generic dual-process account. We further explicate how we view the relation between System 1 and System 2 and evolutionary and normative rationality. We clarify our attempt to fuse the contributions of the cognitive ecologists with the insights of the original heuristics and biases researchers.