Current issues in the psychology of reasoning


Department of Psychology, Plymouth Polytechnic, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA


Recent studies of deductive reasoning are reviewed with respect to three questions: (i) Do people reason logically? (ii) Is reasoning introspectible? (iii) Is reasoning sequential? It is argued that the evidence of reasoning experiments suggests a negative answer to all three questions. This conclusion is interesting, since the last two questions at least might be answered affirmatively by common sense, and affirmative answers would be more consistent with the assumptions of many psychologists in related fields. The question is raised, however, as to whether experimental studies have good external validity for the measurement of ‘reasoning’ as we would generally understand the term.