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Cognitive theorists generally assume that reasoning depends on memory; accurate reasoning requires access to critical informational inputs. Although memory dependency seems self-evidently true, it has been disconfirmed in recent studies of children's logical, mathematical, and pragmatic inferences. These studies have led to a new account of cognitive development, fuzzy-trace theory, that stresses the unfolding of gist-driven intuitive reasoning processes, and that reformulates traditional conceptions of the relationship between verbatim and gist memories. Fuzzy-trace theory also identifies circumstances in which reasoning accuracy depends on memory accuracy.
Psychological Science © 1992 Association for Psychological Science