Political ideology and environmentalism impair logical reasoning

Lucas Keller, Felix Hazelaar, Peter M. Gollwitzer, Gabriele Oettingen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


People are more likely to think statements are valid when they agree with them than when they do not. We conducted four studies analyzing the interference of self-reported ideologies with performance in a syllogistic reasoning task. Study 1 established the task paradigm and demonstrated that participants’ political ideology affects syllogistic reasoning for syllogisms with political content but not politically irrelevant syllogisms. The preregistered Study 2 replicated the effect and showed that incentivizing accuracy did not alleviate these differences. Study 3 revealed that syllogistic reasoning is affected by ideology in the presence and absence of such bonus payments for correctly judging the conclusions’ logical validity. In Study 4, we observed similar effects regarding a different ideological orientation: environmentalism. Again, monetary bonuses did not attenuate these effects. Taken together, the results of four studies highlight the harm of ideology regarding people’s logical reasoning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-108
Number of pages30
JournalThinking and Reasoning
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024


  • Political ideology
  • environmentalism
  • logical reasoning
  • monetary incentives
  • motivated reasoning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Political ideology and environmentalism impair logical reasoning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this