Cognitive Psychology provides student readers with essential help with all aspects of their first course in cognitive psychology, including advice on revising for exams, preparing and writing course assessment materials, and enhancing and progressing their knowledge and skills in line with course requirements in cognitive psychology.

Reasoning and Deduction

Reasoning and deduction

Core Areas

  • Abstract rule theory
  • Affirmation of the consequence
  • Deductive reasoning
  • Denial of the antecedent
  • Domain-specific theories
  • Heuristic and bias accounts
  • Inductive reasoning
  • Mental models
  • Modus ponens
  • Modus tollens
  • Pragmatic reasoning schemata
  • Probabilistic theory
  • Social contract schemata

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this chapter you should be able to:

  • define the key terms outlined above;
  • be able to describe the explanations psychologists have offered for reasoning, including the abstract rule theory, mental models, domain-specific theories, heuristic and bias accounts and probabilistic theory;
  • understand the key ideas central to deductive reasoning, that is, modus ponens, modus tollens, affirmation of the consequence and denial of the antecedent;
  • evaluate each of these.

Running Themes

  • Bottom-up processing.
  • Cognitive neuropsychology
  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Ecological validity
  • Experimental cognitive psychology
  • Schema
  • Semantics
  • Top-down processing


There are two types of reasoning:

  • Deductive reasoning: where a logical conclusion is made following a statement that is usually true. It is ...
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