Logic and human reasoning: an assessment of the deduction paradigm

Psychol Bull. 2002 Nov;128(6):978-96. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.128.6.978.


The study of deductive reasoning has been a major paradigm in psychology for approximately the past 40 years. Research has shown that people make many logical errors on such tasks and are strongly influenced by problem content and context. It is argued that this paradigm was developed in a context of logicist thinking that is now outmoded. Few reasoning researchers still believe that logic is an appropriate normative system for most human reasoning, let alone a model for describing the process of human reasoning, and many use the paradigm principally to study pragmatic and probabilistic processes. It is suggested that the methods used for studying reasoning be reviewed, especially the instructional context, which necessarily defines pragmatic influences as biases.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Cognition*
  • Humans
  • Logic*
  • Problem Solving*