New research demonstrates that political ideology can taint logical reasoning

by Eric W. Dolan
 October 2, 2022

New research provides additional evidence that political ideology can interfere with logical reasoning. The findings, published in the scientific journal Thinking & Reasoning, shed light on how politically motivated reasoning impacts the ability to correctly evaluate syllogisms.

A syllogism is a kind of logical argument that applies deductive reasoning to arrive at a conclusion based on two propositions that are asserted or assumed to be true. (“All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.”) Syllogisms can be valid or invalid, depending on whether the conclusion follows logically from the premises. Importantly, the validity of a syllogism depends on the form of the argument, not on the truth of the premises.

“I have always been interested in the psychology behind political opinions and how people judge whether a politically laden statement is true or false. Studying the ability to identify logically valid conclusions on policy issues felt particularly important in the supposedly post-truth world we live in,” explained study author Julie Aspernäs, a PhD Student at Linköping University in Sweden.