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Inductive And Deductive Reasoning

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Autor:  abdelrahman  17 May 2011
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• A brief description of one failure of deductive reasoning that you observed or experienced in the past week or so, similar to those in the "Wason Selection Task" and "Typical Reasoning" experiments.
A failure in deductive failure that happened to me recently is a situation I encountered under my house. In this situation, I was in my living room next to the windows opening up to the main street and it was 1.30 am when we heard a lot of shouting and ambiguous words right under our window. In this situation I used the following proposition: If a person is largely drunk at 1.30 am then he shouts in the street and talks to himself in ambiguous language. However I failed to use valid deductive reasoning as I followed the incorrect situation if p then q, so I assumed if q then p. I automatically assumed that this was a drunken person who was carelessly shouting in the streets and talking to himself. However, when I later realized that it was a fight that broke up between our neighbors where one was black and the other was white.
• Then, in the context of your examples, explain the impediments (e.g., heuristic, bias, etc.) to each process (deductive and inductive), and suggest methods or techniques for improving each process
In this example, the major impediment that affected my reasoning was the availability heuristic where the most common explanation that easily came to my mind was that it must be a drunken person. In order to improve my thinking in such situations I much clearly recognize the fallacies that occur in deductive reasoning which include denying the antecedent and affirming the consequence. I should also always reassess my thinking in order to refute the confidence bias that gives us overconfidence in the conclusions we reach.

• A brief description of one failure of inductive reasoning that you observed or experienced in the past week or so, similar to those in the "Wason Selection Task" and "Typical Reasoning" experiments.

A very close example for failure in inductive reasoning happened while I was reading in the park this morning. All of a sudden I saw a lot of movement between the pigeons and they all flew away, it was then when I realized that an eagle has gone down on a pigeon and harmed it badly so it couldn't fly and was obviously continuing to poke it to get it dead. Then the strangest thing happened was that one pigeon (or as I saw it then), decided to make that eagle leave by flying across two trees that surrounded the dying pigeon back and forth, and each time she would fly very close but fast above the eagle as if it was going to poke him. Through all those observations I automatically thought that this pigeon should be his mate who will do anything and risk his life to save his mate. Unfortunately, I had wrongly induced this as I later found out that this flying bird wasn't even a pigeon.

• Then, in the context of your examples, explain the impediments (e.g., heuristic, bias, etc.) to each process (deductive and inductive), and suggest methods or techniques for improving each process,
In this example, I think the main impediment in my reasoning was the confirmation bias. I tried to focus on all observations that would confirm my conclusion. I thought: 1) she is the only pigeon that stayed so she must be his mate 2) she is risking her life in order to save the other pigeon so it must be her mate 3) She didn't give up at all and she did that for so long even after the pigeon actually fell dead, so it must have been her mate. In order to improve my inductive thinking I must concentrate very well on the observations I make and vary the views I am taking my observations from. Again, in order to avoid such overconfidence I should always re-assess my thinking and my conclusions.

References

Sternberg, R.J. (2009). Cognitive psychology, (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

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