I have been reading a great deal about conceptual change and reasoning lately. After reading, oh say about 200 papers on the subject, I became frustrated as the research is disjointed and not very conclusive.
Then I decided to try the Paleo/evolutionary route and see if anyone had written about human reasoning from that angle. Low and behold, a new, ground-breaking paper has been published that looks at human reasoning from an evolutionary perspective. The main ideas is that reasoning developed for argumentation.
Here is the link, though I'm not sure how many people are into reading 55-page academic papers. But even parts of the abstract are very interesting:
"Poor performance in standard reasoning tasks is explained by the lack of argumentative context. When the same problems are placed in a proper argumentative setting, people turn out to be skilled arguers."
"Skilled arguers, however, are not after the truth but after arguments supporting their views. This explains the notorious confirmation bias. This bias is apparent not only when people are actually arguing, but also when they are reasoning proactively from the perspective of having to defend their opinions."
To this I would say Exhibit A is the internet, where people are making wild conclusions while only looking for evidence to support their hypotheses.
Anyways, the paper is a very interesting read.