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Thinking is assumed to be abstract psychological processes that manipulate knowledge



Reasoning is the process of logical thinking. 

Reasoning research focuses on how a person either explicit or implicit premises. It is very important to understand the difference between the validity of a conclusion and its empirical truth because these distinctions have implications for the question of rationality. Validity refers only to whether a conclusion can be logically deduced from the premises. The validity of a conclusion is independent of whether that conclusion is true of the real word. For example, the following deductive argument is valid but not true: 

If the earth is flat you eventually would sale off the end.

The earth is flat.

Therefore, you would sale of the end if you travelled too far.

The conclusion is valid even though neither the premises nor the conclusion is true. Correctly judging the validity of logical arguments requires that the form of the arguments be separated from the content. The importance of this separation is that the abstract process of reasoning should be independent of the particular prior experiences that you have had with the content of the problems. That is, if people reason logically, they should have little difficulty separating validity from truth. Logic is the most extensively studied normative model of thinking. Logic is a formal system for deriving valid conclusions; that is, logic is the set of rules by which we can reach a valid conclusion about events or things. Formal logic specifies a prescription for correct reasoning. In that sense, formal logic is a normative model of thinking.  In our day-to-day affairs we usually considered the situation either by syllogistic reasoning or by conditional reasoning.

Syllogistic reasoning. In the case of syllogistic reasoning, consider the following argument to deny welfare assistance to homeless people:

All homeless people are poor.

Some poor people are lazy.

Therefore, some homeless people are lazy.

However, seductive this argument may be, it is invalid. The conclusion does not logically follow from the premises. The homeless people who are poor may not be the same for people who are lazy; thus the argument is not valid. 

Conditional reasoning. Conditional reasoning differs from the syllogistic reasoning in form. Conditional reasoning takes the form of if- then positions. For example, “If I win the next three cases for my law firm, I will receive a salary raise.” If fact, “I win the next three cases for my law firm,” then by the rules of the logic we can draw the conclusion: Therefore, “I will receive a salary raise.” We are familiar with conditional reasoning because we use it frequently in daily affairs.

Philip Johnson-Laird has offered a descriptive model of deductive reasoning that is called the mental model theory. Mental model theory assumes that reasoning begins with comprehension of the premises in syllogistic and conditional problems.

The decisions that we make in day-today life are rarely based on these reasoning. These reasoning are based on general premises, but our day to day decisions often are based on particular premises. From that particular thing we reach a conclusion, which is a decision about how to respond. For example I may notice that it is cloudy today and try to decide whether to take an umbrella when I leave. The particulate premise is “it is cloudy today” from which I moved to the secondary premise “some cloudy days in the past, it has rained.” Based on this premises, I conclude that “it may rain today” and decide to take my umbrella. This form of reasoning is known as inductive reasoning.

The conclusion to an inductive argument does not have the certainty or necessity of the deductive argument; consequently, inductive reasoning cannot be evaluated in terms of the logical validity of the conclusion. An induction is something that is likely to be true on the basis of past experience, but there is no guarantee that it will be absolutely true. Kahneman who pioneered research on decision making from inductive reasoning have suggested representativeness and availability wraths then probability in making decisions. 

The representative heuristic is a hypothetical process of making decisions based on the similarity of a current situation to past situations, and this similarity serves as the basis of judgements in lieu of consideration of such things as base-rates.

A slightly different heuristic strategy used in decision making is known as the availability heuristic. Where as representativeness is based on the similarity between events, a judgment based on availability is influenced by the ease with which something is brought to mind.

Our thinking is frequently influenced by availability rather than the more rational facts of probability. For many people, flying is very anxiety provoking, perhaps because stepping on an airplane brings to mind crashes. This is even more likely to happen following a major accident. You can see that availability is a powerful influence on our thinking, and you can imagine that it could enter into crucial decision processes in a negative way. Suppose a bad stomach virus is going around and you acquire what appear to be the appropriate symptoms. Nonetheless, you visit a physician she has seen hundreds of cases of stomach virus in the last week and decided that is your problem without further examination. Unfortunately, Pneumonia sometimes produces similar symptoms fever, aches, and nausea. Diagnosis of stomach virus based on availability could have disastrous consequences if the pneumonia is left untreated.

This final example illustrate the potential importance of using a rule based process in our thinking, but the psychology of reasoning once again demonstrates that such is not always the case.


    Hi, I’m Aarti, My Psychoanalytical approach towards my clients is to empower them to better their lives through improving their relationship with themselves. I believe shame and guilt is a common barrier to change. I aim to guide my clients through re authoring their narratives where shame, guilt, and other problems have less power and take up less space.

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    Know the Cognitive Process and aids in Decision making



    Decision making is a cognitive process involving information search and evaluation, judgement and problem solving as well as responses to a set of motivational forces that determine the manner in which decisions is made and it occur in certain sequential steps.

    Appraising the challenges: Involves recognizing a challenge realistically. One should avoid making faulty assumptions or oversimplifying a complex problem.

    Surveying the alternatives: Involves recognizing a challenge realistically. One should avoid making faulty assumptions or over simplifying a complex problem.

    Weighing alternatives: Each option is evaluated for its possible gains and costs, for its practicability and consequences. This creates tension in the person.

    Adhering despite negative feedback: Since every decision involves some risk, others may criticize it. Overreacting to criticism and disappointment by changing the mind prematurely may make the whole effort a waste. Or justifying once choice shutting out valuable criticism is also not desirable.

    Successful decision making according to Janis and Mann, involves “vigorous information processing”. This may occur due to following

    • When the risk is continuing the existing behavior is low.
    • When the risk in what one is doing is high and there is an alternative with a low risk, then the latter one is likely to be chosen.
    • When all the alternatives appear to be risky and one does not hope to get a better alternative, decision making is likely to be avoided by refusing to accept the existence of a problem.
    • If one feels that a possible alternative may disappear, if time is spent on other alternatives then the person may become panic and choose prematurely.

    In addition to the process of gathering information, weighing alternative and making a commitment, personal factors like values, attitudes, frustration, tolerance, anxiety etc., further complicate decision making.

    In improving decision making skills keep in mind the following principles-

    • Use sounder judgement: judgement is the raw material of decision-making. Human beings have a tendency to simplify complex matters why stereotypes. As a result, the poor judgement leads to poor decision.
    • Acknowledge conflicts realistically: every decision involves some degree of conflict with equal alternative leading to more intense conflicts especially when choosing between two undesirable results.
    • Clarify your values and objectives: values are neither good nor bad. They are guiding principles. Many conflicts may arise due to confusion over values. Once values are clarified, they can be translated into tangible objectives that guide your decisions.
    • Accept reasonable results: we should never aim at an ideal solution. People with perfectionistic tendencies are especially susceptible to this. It is desirable to accept the most reasonable results under the circumstances.
    • Make the best of faulty decisions: because of our cognitive limitations, many of our decisions may go wrong. In such situation people are like to berate themselves or justify their decisions. Instead we should try to find out why it was wrong and in future improve our decision making.

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    Why a person behaves in a certain way? Person perception, snap judgment attribution and cognitive distortion.



    Suppose your boss bawls you out for doing sloppy job on an insignificant project. To what do you attribute your boss’s tongue lashing? Was your work really that bad? Is your boss just in a grouchy mood? Is your boss under too much pressure?

    In assessing what a significant individual is like, people are particularly interest in learning why the person behaves in a certain way. This deeper level of understanding is vital if one is to make accurate predictions about the person’s future behavior. After all, when you are looking for a roommate, you don’t want to end up with an inconsiderate slab. To determine the cause of others behavior people, engage in the process of casual attribution.

    Attributions are interferences that people draw about the causes of their own behavior, other’s behavior, and events.

    When people ascribe the causes of someone’s behavior to personal disposition, traits, abilities, or feelings, they are making internal attributions. When they impute the causes of their behavior to situational demands and environmental constraints, they are making external attributions. For example, if a friend’s business fails, you might attribute the failure to your friend’s lack of business skills ( an internal factor) or to negative trends in the economy (an external factor). Parents who discover that their teenage son has banged up the family car may blame it on. The carelessness (an internal attribution) or on slippery road conditions (an external attribution).

    The types of attributions people make about others can have a tremendous impact on everyday social interactions. For example, blaming a friend’s business failure on poor business “smarts” rather than on a poor economy will obviously affect how you view your friend not to mention whether you’ll lend her money! Likewise, if parents attribute their son’s automobile accident to slippery road conditions, they are likely to deal with him very differently than if they attribute it to his carelessness. In addition, there is evidence that spouse’s attributions for each other’s behavior can affect their marital satisfaction.

    Obviously, people don’t make attributions about every person they meet. People are relatively selective in this process. It seems that people are most likely to make attributions:

    • When others behave in unexpected or negative ways.
    • When events are personally relevant.
    • When they are suspicious about another person’s motives.

    Some aspects of the attribution process are logical. Nonetheless, research also shows that the process of person perception is sometime illogical and unsystematic, as in the case of snap judgments.

    Shortly after you begin interacting with someone, you start forming hypotheses about what the person is like. In turn these hypotheses can influence your behavior toward that person in such a way as to confirm your expectations. Thus, if on your first encounter with Rohan, he has a camera around his neck, you will probably hypothesize that he has an interest in photography and question him selectively about his shutterbug activities you might also neglect to ask more wide ranging question that would give you a more accurate picture of him. This tendency to behave toward others in ways that confirm your expectations about them is termed confirmation bias.

    Confirmation bias is a well documented phenomenon. It occurs in casual social interactions as well as in job interviews and in courtrooms, where interviewer or attorney may ask leading questions. When it comes to forming first impressions of others, it is not so much that “seeing is believing” but rather that “believing is seeing.”

    Confirmation bias also occurs because individuals selectively recall facts to fit their views of others. In one experiment, participant watched a videotape of a women engaging in a variety of activities. Half of them were told that the woman was a waitress and the other half was told that she was a librarian. When asked to recall the woman’s actions on the videotape, participants tended to remember activities consistent with their stereotypes of waitresses and librarians.

    Thus, those who thought that the woman was a waitress recalled her drinking beer, those who thought she was a librarian recalled her listening to classical music.

    They go blithely along, assuming that their version of reality is accurate.

    Sometimes a perceiver’s expectations can actually change another person’s behavior this outcome is not inevitable.

    Another source of error in person perception comes from distortions in the minds of perceivers. These errors in judgment are most likely to occur when a perceiver is in a hurry, is distracted, or is not motivated to pay careful attention to another person.

    One of the ways people efficiently process information is to classify objects (and people) according to their distinctive features (Fiske, 1998). Thus people quite often categorize others on the basis of nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, and so forth. People frequently take the easy path of categorizing others to avoid expending the cognitive effort that would be necessary for a more accurate impression.

    When people are perceived as being unique or distinctive, they are also seen as having more influence in a group, and their good and bad qualities are given extra weight. Significantly distinctiveness also triggers stereotyping. This phenomenon explains why many people notice nagging women (but not men), noisy poor (but not rich), and jolly fat (but not thin) people.

    Stereotypes are widely held beliefs that people have certain characteristics because of their membership in a particular group. Stereotypes can be spontaneously triggered when people encounter members of commonly stereotyped groups– even in those who are not prejudiced. Stereotypes can exist outside a person’s awareness. Because stereotyping is automatic, some psychologists are pessimistic about being able to control it others take a more optimistic view.

    In forming impression of other people and behaving in a certain way, individuals rely on appearance, verbal behavior, action, nonverbal messages and situational cues, individual make snap judgment about others unless accurate impression are important.
    To explain the causes of other people behavior, individual make attribution.

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