What Is Syllogism in Cognitive Psychology?


Vincent White

Syllogism is a term that originates from Aristotle’s work in logic. In cognitive psychology, syllogism refers to the process of deductive reasoning used to draw conclusions based on two premises. Premises are statements that provide information about a certain situation or topic.

What is Deductive Reasoning?

Deductive reasoning is a type of logical thinking that involves making conclusions based on two or more premises. For example, if we know that all dogs have fur and fluffy is a dog, we can deduce that Fluffy has fur. Deductive reasoning follows the principle of validity- if the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true.

The Structure of Syllogism

Syllogism consists of three components: Major premise, minor premise, and conclusion. The major premise refers to the universal statement that provides general information about a subject.

The minor premise refers to the specific statement related to the subject. The conclusion is drawn by connecting both premises.


Major Premise: All mammals have lungs.
Minor Premise: A horse is a mammal.
Conclusion: Therefore, a horse has lungs.

Types of Syllogisms

There are three types of syllogisms:

  • Categorical Syllogisms
  • Hypothetical Syllogisms
  • Disjunctive Syllogisms

Categorical Syllogisms:

Categorical syllogisms involve categorical statements such as all, none, or some. These types of syllogisms are used to draw conclusions based on categories.

Major Premise: All birds have wings.
Minor Premise: A penguin is a bird.
Conclusion: Therefore, a penguin has wings.

Hypothetical Syllogisms:

Hypothetical syllogisms involve hypothetical or conditional statements such as ‘if-then.’ These types of syllogisms are used to draw conclusions based on hypothetical scenarios.

Major Premise: If it rains, the ground will be wet.
Minor Premise: It is raining.
Conclusion: Therefore, the ground is wet.

Disjunctive Syllogisms:

Disjunctive syllogisms involve disjunctive statements such as ‘either-or.’ These types of syllogisms are used to draw conclusions based on two possible scenarios.

Major Premise: Either it’s sunny or it’s raining outside.
Minor Premise: It’s not sunny.
Conclusion: Therefore, it’s raining outside.

The Importance of Syllogism in Cognitive Psychology

Syllogism plays a vital role in cognitive psychology as it helps individuals to make logical deductions and draw conclusions. It allows individuals to think critically and evaluate information. It also helps individuals to identify errors in reasoning and understand the implications of their beliefs.

In conclusion, syllogism is an essential tool for logical thinking and deductive reasoning. By using syllogism, individuals can make informed decisions based on facts and evidence. Therefore, it is crucial for individuals to understand the process of syllogism and its different types to enhance their cognitive abilities.