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What Is Logical Thinking? 3 Exercises to Improve

Logical thinking
You have four blocks in front of you, a black one, a red one, a white one and a green one. You must remove two of them. You may not take away the red, the black and the white blocks simultaneously. You may not take away the white, the green and the red ones simultaneously. Which two blocks may be removed? To answer this puzzle, you will need to think logically.

What is logical thinking?

Logical thinking is the process in which one uses reasoning consistently to come to a conclusion. Synonyms are reasoning skills and reasoning ability.

Problems or situations involving logical thinking call for structure, relationships between facts, and chains of reasoning that “make sense.”

In logic, there are two broad methods of concluding: deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning.

  • Deductive reasoning begins with a broad truth (the major premise), such as the statement that all men are mortal. This is followed by the minor premise, a more specific statement, such as that Socrates is a man. A conclusion follows: Socrates is mortal.
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    The conclusion cannot be false if both the major and minor premises are true.
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  • In inductive reasoning, broad conclusions are drawn from specific observations; data leads to conclusions. If the data shows a tangible pattern, it will support a hypothesis. For example, having seen ten white swans, we could use inductive reasoning to conclude that all swans are white.
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    This hypothesis is easier to disprove than to prove, and the premises are not necessarily true, but they are true given the existing evidence and given that one cannot find a situation in which it is not true.
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In his book Brain Building, Dr. Karl Albrecht says that the basis of all logical thinking is sequential thought. This process involves taking the important ideas, facts, and conclusions in a problem and arranging them in a chain-like progression that takes on a meaning in and of itself. To think logically is to think in steps.

Importance of logical thinking for students

Logical thinking skills allow learners to understand what they have read or been shown and build upon that knowledge without incremental guidance. Logical thinking teaches students that knowledge is fluid and builds upon itself.

The relationship between logical reasoning and reading is well established in the literature. It has been said that “there is no reading without reasoning,” and even that reading is reasoning.

Logical thinking is also an important foundational skill of math. “Learning mathematics is a highly sequential process,” says Dr. Albrecht. “If you don’t grasp a certain concept, fact, or procedure, you can never hope to grasp others that come later, which depend upon it. For example, to understand fractions, you must first understand division. Likewise, understanding simple algebra equations requires that you understand fractions. Solving word problems depends on knowing how to set up and manipulate equations, and so on.”

A study by Bhat (2016) examined the contribution of six components of reasoning ability (inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning, linear reasoning, conditional reasoning, cause-and-effect reasoning, and analogical reasoning) to explain the variation in the academic achievement of 598 class 10th students. The predictive power of various components of reasoning ability for academic achievement was 31.5%.

It has been proven that specific training in logical reasoning can make people “smarter.” Logical thinking allows a child to reject quick answers, such as “I don’t know,” or “this is too difficult,” by empowering them to delve deeper into their thinking processes and understand better the methods used to arrive at a solution and even the solution itself.

A learned mental process

Reasoning ability is not a magical process or a matter of genetic endowment but a learned mental process. Training in logical thinking encourages students to think for themselves, question hypotheses, develop alternative hypotheses, and test those hypotheses against known facts.

When doing cognitive skills training, it is essential to note that such training should be multi-cognitive. In physical training, a balanced workout is vital as overtraining one part of the body can cause deformity, such as Popeye syndrome when overtraining the biceps.

The brain is no different. For example, in Maguire et al.’s experiment with London taxi drivers, growth in the posterior hippocampi seems to have come at a cost, as they had reduced anterior hippocampal gray matter volume compared with bus drivers, with anterior volume decreasing with more navigation experience (Maguire et al., 2006).

One should also consider the role of mutualism. A mutualistic view suggests that cognitive abilities mutually facilitate growth. For example, better reasoning skills allow individuals to improve their vocabulary more quickly, and better vocabulary is associated with faster improvement in reasoning ability (Kievit et al., 2017).

Therefore, in addition to doing Edublox’s Development Tutor program four to five times a week for 15-20 minutes per session, the following exercise can be done for 4-5 minutes:
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Aside from food, water, and shelter, the one thing that a person will most need in life is an education. Of those four necessities, education is the only one that can help ensure a person’s consistent ability to provide himself or herself with the other three. Unfortunately, the importance of logical thinking skills is underestimated in education, and training in reasoning ability is therefore grossly neglected.
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Edublox offers cognitive training and live online tutoring to students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and other learning disabilities. Our students are in the United States, Canada, Australia, and elsewhere. Book a free consultation to discuss your child’s learning needs.
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