Deductive reasoning

Ball, Linden orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5099-0124, Butler, Laurie T., Sherman, Susan M. and Clair-Thompson, Helen St (2023) Deductive reasoning. In: Cognitive Psychology in a Changing World. Routledge, London, pp. 127-187. ISBN 9781003145851

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This chapter explores a particular type of reasoning – deductive reasoning. We first look at what deductive reasoning is (and isn’t). We then look at some of the types of deductive reasoning such as conditional reasoning or ‘if … then’ reasoning and how the content of the problem can influence reasoning. We consider the Wason selection task which involves a mixture of deductive and inductive reasoning and examine biases that interfere with our reasoning on this task. We also explore syllogistic reasoning. We consider theories that try to explain different types of reasoning such as mental models theories and dual-process theories such as Type 1 and Type 2 processing. Towards the end of the chapter, we consider the question ‘are humans rational?’ and we finish with a consideration of informal reasoning. Throughout the chapter, there are lots of examples of real-life reasoning and reasoning problems for you to try.

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