Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

An Analysis of Deductive Reasoning: A Review Supported by Neuro-Physiological Evidences

Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

An Analysis of Deductive Reasoning: A Review Supported by Neuro-Physiological Evidences

Article excerpt

Reasoning is an essential component of cognition. It may be discussed under two broad categories: deductive and inductive reasoning. In this paper we would focus on deductive reasoning. Unlike inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning basically deals with the information (premises), which is already given. The conclusion is to be drawn on the basis ofthat information. An inference is considered valid if and only if the conclusion by virtue of some rules comes from the premises. If the conclusion is not accepted by the common sense view, it does not affect the validity of the inference. For example, All smart people are reasonable, All politicians are smart people. Therefore, all politicians are reasonable.

Someone may consider it as an invalid conclusion because his/her commonsense view may prevent him/her to consider tht conclusion as a valid one. This kind of subjective interpretation comes in the way of rule following (Evans, 2002; Goel, 2007). Since individual belief plays an important role in concluding the presented information as premise. Tht belief bias is a good evidence for manipulation of stored information in deductive reasoning, which needs to be investigated. Apart from belief bias, there are several other factors with which deductive reasoning may be concerned. Review indicates the experiment conducted in the study of deductive reasoning often uses different kinds of stimulus or task variables. Most of the experiment based on deductive reasoning was conducted by using task variables, which varied in terms of presentation, mode of stimulus and instructional variation. For example, contextual knowledge, familiarity or non-familiarity of the stimulus (Goel, Markele, & Grafman, 2004), certainty or uncertainty of task (Politzer & Bourmaud, 2002), nature of task (Chadha & Booth, 2012) may influence deductive reasoning. In deductive reasoning the reasoner draws the right conclusion in a more precise and appropriate way. Thus, investigating deductive reasoning amounts to, scientifically validating particular information from alternative available information.

Neurophysiological assessment of deductive reasoning

For understanding cognitive processes in the brain during deductive reasoning, neurological processes are taken into consideration. Three of the major neurological techniques are popular namely EEG, PET scan and fMRI study (Goel, 2007; Prado, Chadha, & Booth, 2010). The advantages of the neurological techniques are useful for several reasons (Anu, Lavelle, & Cacioppo, 2009):

* It provides region specific information in the brain excluding noises (especially in EEG)

* It provides high chance of reliability because it shows quantitative records

* Through fMRI we get thre3 dimensional images. One of the advantages of 3-dimensional fMRI studies is that it provides information about functioning of the entire brain by its pattern of dynamic blood flow in the brain. The new fMRI techniques can monitor changes in neural activities within few seconds. It helps in the analysis of the neural pathways from where activities initially take place. Another important aspect of fMRI technique is that it provides a sophisticated method, which helps in further interpretation and modeling of data.

In more recent experiments repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) (Christoff, et al., 2012) has been used in deductive reasoning study.

Problem with the neurophysiological experiments:

With the advancement of more technological tools it is easier to understand the neural activities in a much sophisticated way. It is difficult to predict conclusively the exact set of neurons that are active during deductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning depends on several factors. In the earlier meta-analysis by Goel (2007) and Prado Henst, & Noveck. (2010) it is shown how neural activity during deductive reasoning changes in accordance with the nature of premises. In those attempts they tried to provide a guideline regarding deductive reasoning and neurological explanation by using corresponding neuroscience literature. …

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