Fuzzy Trace Theory: A Brief Overview

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Fuzzy Trace theory functions and serves as a better model for explicating reasoning and decision making. There are five parts of “processing in reasoning and decision making: (a) stored knowledge and values; (b) mental representations of problems or situations; (c) retrieval of knowledge and values; (d) implementation of knowledge and values; and (e) developmental and individual differences in monitoring and inhibiting interference” (Reyna & Brainerd, Dual Processes in Decision Making and Developmental Neuroscience: A Fuzzy-Trace Model, 2011). Stored knowledge implies what has been stored in long-term memory through education and experience. Mental representations incorporate the ways in which people perceive problems to be faced, and these representations consist of verbatim- and gist-based representations.
The two types of mental representations of content differ in the functionality and qualities of these representations. Verbatim representations relate to the specificities of information directly. Simply put, verbatim representations in the memory function similarly to when someone is to quote a person, verbatim, that is, to include what was said, exactly as the person said it. In comparison, gist representations in memory correlate to a higher level of processing said mental representations, meaning that the gist of content is extracted from the representation to derive a conceptual meaning void of exacting specificities found in verbatim based processing. These memories are more vague and qualitative and interpretive based on emotion, education, culture, experience, worldview, and numeracy (Reyna talk). Gist representations function beyond linguistics in music, pictures, graphs, numbers, and events (Chick & Reyna, 2012).
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Reyna, V. F., & Brainerd, C. J. (2011). Dual Processes in Decision Making and Developmental Neuroscience: A Fuzzy-Trace Model. Developmental Review, 180-206. doi:10.1016/j.dr.2011.07.004

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