Descriptive and normative reasoning
Normative accounts of human performance in thinking, reasoning, and problem solving describe how people ought to perform on a particular task, based on logical principles or other theoretical standards (Kahneman & Tversky, 2019). Comparative accounts, on the other hand, describe what people do on the task based upon empirical observations. A reasoning task could be syllogistic reasoning. This involves drawing conclusion based upon two predicated premises. Based on empirical data, descriptive accounts might describe people’s actual performance. Normative accounts describe an ideal performance for this task. One example is that a normative account could state that people should be able solve syllogisms according to certain logical principles. A descriptive account, on the other hand, might say that people sometimes make errors even though they are following logically valid conclusions (Evans 2002). A risk assessment might be another type of decision-making task. It involves the evaluation of potential outcomes and the probabilities of different actions. Based on empirical data, normative accounts could describe an ideal performance for this task. While descriptive accounts, on the other hand, would reflect how individuals actually do the task. For example, a normative account might state that people ought to make decisions that maximize expected utility, while a descriptive account might report that people often exhibit biases and heuristics that deviate from this standard (Kahneman & Tversky, 2019). Cont…
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