Deductive, Inductive and Abductive Reasoning: The Fundamentals of Psychology

Deductive, Inductive and Abductive Reasoning: The Fundamentals of Psychology

Psychology as a field of research provides insights and understanding about the human mind which helps us to understand ourselves better. As an applied science, Psychology plays an important part in many segments of research such as Cognition, Mental structure, and study of the human mind. Psychology relies on the logical reasoning of events and draws conclusion thereof. The logical reason is achieved through three different ways of reaching a conclusion or establishing the truth. These are namely, Inductive, Abductive and Deductive reasoning.

Inductive reasoning is when a psychologist (or anyone for that purpose) starts with a specific piece of information, or a specific reaction of any person to a particular situation, and moves on to generalizing the reaction on the basis of the observation of that specific person (or event). Most of the psychological study is based on inductive reasoning, collecting evidence and information and then moving on to creating a hypothesis or a theory to construct an explanation. Being based on a particular facts and specific details, inductive reasoning is likely, but not necessary. An applied area of inductive reasoning is scientific research. Even if the inductive reasoning is not accurate, it provides a greater level of details and expands the knowledge. Instead of true, inductive reasoning is cogent.

Deductive reasoning is when someone moves from a general rule to a specific conclusion. In other words, from established premises we reach a conclusion for any specific thing. For example, if X=4 and Y=7 then X+Y=11. This brings us to the conclusion that Maths is an application of deductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning asserts an outcome with absolute certainty. If the assertions and the underlying premise is true, then the conclusion will also be true. Deductive reasoning deduces a conclusion with the knowledge of known general facts, to shed light on unknown specific outcomes.

Abductive reasoning is moving from a set of observation and the likeliest possible explanation for the set. Abductive reasoning is the kind of daily reasoning we all perform in our day to day activities, with our limited set of information, trying to explain events and outcomes which best fir the situation and out understanding. A medical diagnosis is a classic example of Abductive reasoning, where a medical practitioner based on the evidence tries to diagnose the patient. His understanding might be limited, to it is possible that the patient failed to convey all the symptoms in either case the doctor will try his best to treat the patient. Abductive reasoning, unlike the other two, can also cater creativity and innovation which tries to connect the dots. Another example of deductive reasoning would be in criminal cases where based on the evidences at hand, a theory is proposed of what might have happened. The theory may not be true, but it is probable, and in light of the pieces of evidence at hand, the theory generated by Abductive reasoning is infect the most likely outcome.