Psych 2H03: Human Learning and Cognition
Chapter 12: Reasoning
Reasoning: the process by which conclusions are drawn from information
(premises); a crucial skill that sets humanity apart from all other animals.
Counterfactual reasoning: reasoning from assumptions or hypotheses that the
reasoned believes to be false (e.g., “If I had studied for the test, I would have gotten a
Validity: conclusions that logically follow a premise.
Invalidity: a property of conclusions that do not follow a premise.
Linear reasoning: the ability to draw a conclusion from pairs of relationships on
some dimension (e.g., height).
Seriation: the basic linear reasoning: the ability to place objects in order along a
dimension (e.g., from shortest to tallest).
Transitivity: given three items, if a relation holds between the first two items and
also between the second and third items, then it must hold between the first and
Syllogism: an argument in which the conclusion follows from the premises.
Marked terms: a word that is noted or “marked” because it is difficult to
understand as a result of its specificity or complexity (e.g., lioness is more
complicated that lion because it specifies a subset of a larger group).
Unmarked terms: a semantically simple word to understand.
Principle of lexical marking: a semantically complicated term that is difficult to
reason with and to store in memory.
Principle of congruity: the mental steps that must be used to answer a question:
encoding the question, comparing the encoded question with encoded facts stored
in memory, and if the encoding of the question and facts match, answer the
Set-inclusion relation: he inferred relationship among categories of objects.