Dynamics of Conflict in Reasoning

During my PhD, I looked at how people deal with conflict during reasoning. Conflict can occur, for instance, if intuitive thinking says one thing, while deliberate logical reasoning says another. It can also occur when different kinds of knowledge support different inferences. For example, bats and birds look alike and sharks and killer whales seem similar, but we learn at school that these are different kinds of animals, and don't have the same genes.

In my PhD project, working with Professor Aidan Feeney and Dr Jonathan Rolison in the School of Psychology at Queen's University Belfast, I used mouse-tracking - recording people's cursor movements as they decided which response button to click on - to explore when conflict occurs in reasoning, what kinds of information drive our thinking at different points in time, and how faulty intuitions can be inhibited and overruled.

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Eoin Travers
Cognitive (Neuro)Scientist