Deductive Reasoning and Strategies

Deductive Reasoning and Strategies

Deductive Reasoning and Strategies

Deductive Reasoning and Strategies


Fifteen essays, originating from the eponymously titled workshop at the Royal Academy of Science, Brussels, March 1998, explore various trends in the psychology of reasoning. Chapters include discussions of syllogistic, spatial, propositional, and statistical reasoning. Also included are chapters on meta-theory and a concluding essay that attempts to draw conclusions from the preceding material.


This book emerged from the Workshop on Deductive Reasoning and Strategies which took place at the Royal Academy of Science, in Brussels, Belgium, March 20-21 1998. The workshop was held under the auspices of the National Committee of Psychological Sciences, and was sponsored by the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders and the Federal research project IUAP/PAI P4/19.

We hope that this book will serve to direct the readers' attention to various trends in the psychology of reasoning and the way these trends connect to the role of strategies. Indeed, we hope to illustrate the diversity of research related to reasoning and strategies: There are chapters about syllogistic reasoning, spatial reasoning, propositional reasoning, statistical reasoning, and some additional metatheoretical chapters. Moreover, the final collection includes the work of scientists from all over the world.

Because many of the contributions do not deal exclusively with one topic, they have not been explicitly placed into sections. However, the ordering of the chapters reflects the main issue addressed by each author. Reading the first version of the manuscripts for the book raised the question of what we would do with the presentation of the two major theories of deductive reasoning, that is, the mental model theory and the rule-based theories. Indeed, many of the authors gave an introduction to these theories. We decided that it would be best if the authors wrote their chapters to stand alone. As a result, each chapter is self-contained and can be read on its own. Some repetition of key theoretical issues therefore occurs. However, you will also notice that many of the authors refer to other chapters in the volume. This is, of course, a consequence of the fact that the book originates from a workshop, in which there was room for the participants to discuss their ideas. Because these discussions were one of the main goals of the workshop, we tried to include them in some form in the book. Instead of an introduction we opted for a final chapter to the book, in which we tried to formulate some conclusions based on our ideas, the ideas presented in the different chapters, and some aspects of the discussion sessions that took place during the workshop.

We owe much to Marleen Devijver. Her secretarial work for the workshop was invaluable. Moreover, she made a major contribution in preparing the manuscripts for publication. We also thank Walter Schroyens for his help in preparing the camera-ready copy for the book, and Kristien Dieussaert and Niki Verschueren for their help in checking the indices. We want to express our gratitude to Permanent Secretary Prof. N. Schamp of the Royal Academy of Science for his cooperation: He made it possible for our workshop to be held in the buildings of . . .

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