Does studying logic improve logical reasoning?

There has long been debate over whether studying mathematics improves one’s logical reasoning skills. In fact, it is even unclear whether studying logic improves one’s logical reasoning skills. A previous study found no improvement in conditional reasoning behaviour in students taking a semester long course in logic. However, the reasoning task employed in that study has since been criticised, and may not be a valid measure of reasoning. Here, we investigated the development of abstract conditional reasoning skills in students taking a course in formal logic, using a more sophisticated measure. Students who had previous experience of logic improved significantly, while students with no previous experience did not improve. Our results suggest that it is possible to teach logical thinking, given a certain degree of exposure.