Make cognitive and logical reasoning tests requirements for elected offices

Throughout history we have known that not everyone is mentally fit to hold political offices. This is an unfortunate fact about our world.

Being unable to properly comprehend and retain knowledge can hinder people from taking appropriate actions when they need to. This is as much detrimental to the cognitively impaired as it is to the people who would be electing them with the expectation that they would be able to reasonably govern. Noble or not their intentions may be, achieving their goals can be impossible if their comprehension is impaired.

The same is true if they lack the aptitude for logical reasoning. Despite popular belief, “logic” is not just a five letter word for “the things I agree with”, but rather it is a determination if whether the claims you make contradict one another (illogical) or if the complement one another (logical).

The APA already has a robust set of tests to determine whether someone is cognitively impaired and inductive/deductive reasoning tests have been refined well before Psychology was even a field of study.

My proposal is that we push for every potential candidate of every political office be required to take the MoCA (Montreal Cognitive Assessment Test), the MMSE (Mini-Mental State Exam, and the Mini-Cog with their results published publicly in order to be eligible for office. These are APA (American Psychological Association) approved and verified standards for mental health.

Furthermore we push for a standardized APA deductive/inductive reasoning test in their informal ability to understand logic. I say informal ability to understand logic because I am aware that formal logic training is something that is rare, as I had to fight to find such programs in my home state of Mississippi. Still, the APA has been very good at putting out reasoning tests that can determine whether someone can be logically consistent despite not being formally trained in logic theory.

If the candidate seems cognitively impaired from the first battery, I believe that should be a disqualification inherently. If the candidate lacks logical aptitude, I believe that they should also be disqualified until such time that they can prove that they have learned enough about how to be consistent with their claims.

A cognitively impaired candidate cannot be reasonably expected to legislate, adjudicate, or enforce even the values they hold most dear because of their inability to retain cohesion.
A logically impaired candidate cannot be reasonably expected to legislate, adjudicate, or enforce even they values they hold most dear because they can and will have conflicting values within their own belief system.

To be clear: This should be pushed with a mindfulness that a diagnosis of a mental health condition is not an automatic disqualfier. Rather, the tests speak for themselves and neurotypicality or neurodivergence is a separate matter entirely. This can and should be done without any ableism involved.


This same logic was used to justify literacy tests and poll taxes; an easy way for the system to exclude the viewpoints of people.

The problem you are describing, unpopular politicians winning elections, is a symptom of legalized campaign finance shenanigans.

If elections worked properly, we wouldn’t need term limits or cognitive tests because the electorate would replace unfit legislators.

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That’s patently untrue. The problem I am describing isn’t “unpopular politicians”, it is incompetent politicians in the literal sense of the word.

IE: Politicians that, no matter how well meaning or not well meaning, are incapable of supporting even their own world view due to cognitive impairments and/or a lack of logical framework.

As I stated in my hint to the true definition of logic, a point of view can be from anywhere on any side of the aisle, be from someone neurodivergent, AND still be logical. I myself am neurodivergent, so I myself am trying to be clear that by logic I am referring to a system that can be mathematically broken down into ps and qs if someone were to go with formal logic analysis.

To shorten. If it can be broken down to a science and/or a math it’s not something cultural like literacy in a single language. It’s objective.

If it can be broken down to science and//or a math it’s not something that is an economic oppressor like a poll tax.

I understand the sordid history we have had with things like this, but having job requirements for people with power is not the same as restricting who can vote. That’s a false equivalency.

Holding the people in charge of the keys of power in our country to a high standard of mental readiness is not the same thing.

Furthermore I cited tests from the APA for this. These are nonbiased sources that are scientific measures. It’s not remotely the same. It’s disingenuous to say that it is.

I myself am neurodivergent so I understand the fear that could be behind such a system. Still, as I said, these are completely different metrics that are distinct and in no way correlated to neurodivergency, culture, or subculture.

What you are mistaking is thinking that I am saying that certain axioms that are the basis of arguments that I dislike are what I am having issue with. This not true. But if you say that All ducks are blue AND you say that you’re going to ban all black ducks. That’s not just a different point of view, that’s literally contradictory statements to your own argument. If you are incapable of minding your ps and qs and not contradicting yourself, you will create laws that are unstable as you are and at best it will simply be ineffectual, at worst it will be exploited for purposes that you never intended.

Furthermore, I can’t stress enough that I don’t want to push this as a restriction upon voters, but upon people holding office. There is a whole ass class difference in the people harmed by the Jim Crow laws you’re equivocating this to, and quite frankly I’m really insulted that you said that restrictions on the powerful was at all the same as restrictions upon We the People.

This is a protection not only for the American people and American law, but also for such people such that their cognitive impairments or their lack of logical aptitude cannot be exploited by the corrupt systems.

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Regardless of the merits of your proposal, making any cognitive test a legal condition of eligibility for elected office likely would not pass constitutional muster. It would have pass strict scrutiny, which is highly unlikely.


This is why I wanted to use the standards of testing specifically from the American Psychological Association. If even that cannot pass scrutiny then no measure could. That would not surprise me if it is the case, but it does frustrate me that such measures and much more stringently so to determine eligibility to work as a rehab clinician, which in many cases is a simple job of rehashing long debunked higher power based drug rehabilitation with no thought or effort on the part of the clinician. And yet our most powerful cannot be asked to simply know what day of the week it is and to have the capacity to form claims that are not inherently contradictory

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things are only this ‘bad’ because it serves the interests of the donors… if campaign finance was sorted, legislators would have to listen to the people in order to keep their seat


The problem is almost always enforcement. People could think things out but for you to get that argument to be heard by a court isn’t easy. The things that have to go well for a legal system to produce a desirable outcome when a court is involved is usually high. For this becomes even more tenuous when that system is made to work responsively with a legislature. Especially at a pace of our current society is much more difficult.

Legal system seems to be full of good intentions.

I hear you, friend, and I sympathize with your frustration. My point though however was that such a test is likely unconstitutional, so it would require constitutional amendment, which is no small feat. If we’re going to devote our time and resources on any constitutional amendment, I think we’d all be better off focusing on campaign finance reform so that our votes and voices matter more. And there are other laudable and more realistic goals that we could strive for that don’t require a constitutional amendment. Like paid family leave.


Oh no no no. I see your point. It is a very good one and I appreciate it and you for sharing it. My frustration has nothing to do with you friend.

Law is not my area of specialization. If you could not tell, I am a psychology girl myself. While I try to dabble in learning law because I just find it fascinating, I know that it is one of my weak points.


No worries, didn’t take it personally at all! Keep proposing your ideas and sharing your unique perspective. I’m no psychology expert, for sure. We all need to hear each other out and have a frank discussion about what we can realistically achieve.

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I like this idea or I think it is on the right track. I am currently a graduate student working on research involving higher level cognitive thinking (currently focused on prebunking and algorithmic manipulation of cognitively vulnerable populations). I think the test will need to be modified or specific to critical thinking as it may be as important as a test of knowledge of the laws where the politician serves and knowledge of constitutional law.

I do not think it should be a test of exclusion for people who rely primarily on abductive and system 1 thinking (fast shortcut thinking)(Dr. Daniel Kahnman, ‘Thinking fast and slow’). System 2 thinking (slow thinking) is deduction and critical thinking. A test of deductive reasoning is good (as in finding out if someone can make a deductive thought through setting accurate and or factual premises). But, do they primarily use system one thinking throughout the day and or does the money being stuffed into their pockets influence what they ‘critically think’ is important?

Many studies have found that people depend on system one shortcut thinking throughout the day for efficiency. And fast shortcut thinking is not bad (what do I feel like eating? Take shower before going to work everyday), unless one has set dysfunctional shortcut thinking that lead to bad outcomes, do not slow down their thinking when critical thinking is necessary, or a corporation has set algorithms in social media that group and exploit similar shortcut thinkers together for efficient ‘marketing’ and exploitation. Similarly, a lobbyist can sell, manipulate, and exploit certain fast shortcut thinking of politicians once those fast thinking vulnerabilities are discovered.

This being said, a person serving in congress could pass a critical thinking test, but still be influenced by corporate PAC money. But a critical thinking test might prevent someone like congresswomen Lauren Boebert from serving in congress who I would hypothesize would not be able to pass a graduate level critical thinking test but maybe a grade school level critical thinking test.

There would need to be an agreed consensus on the level of critical thinking skills necessary to perform in the elected position. I would think a graduate level of critical thinking skills would be necessary, as well as a solid knowledge of the necessary law where they will govern; to critically and fairly understand specifics of the laws as well as the nuance and confluence of benefits and costs to their constituents.

So, I agree with some of the other suggestions that ‘money out of politics’ may be a more effective tool for helping our American political system than a cognitive test. However, what level of critical thinking might a corporation want for a politician?

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This is a very dangerous idea. The problem with *scholasticism is it’s inherent superiority complex.

I believe that your addition upon my idea does go a bit outside where my comfort level sits. Especially those parts where prerequisite knowledge is required.

Testing someone’s cognitive function and their aptitude for logic can be done without excluding anyone of any philosophical axioms from the process or viewpoints in the process.

Critical thinking, however, is much more nebulous in its definition in the field of psychology.

We need to be very careful that any such tests do not exclude the neurodivergent. The tests that I have listed and pulled from the APA itself, however, measure cognition in a way that gives results proven independent from neurodivergence.

EDIT: I also haven’t been in the throes of academia in almost a decade myself. Though I try to keep up with the current literature, it is possible that my reservations about what you are suggesting is due to a lack of familiarity to current psychological definitions of critical thinking as you have defined it.

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Could you be more clear Enduser? You mean scholasticism right?

Assessing cognitive skills is not based on scholastism as I assume you mean. Developmental and cognitive psychology studies the evolution or development of increasingly complex cognition skills or in this case critical thinking skills. For example, competent critical thinking skills in grade school might be tests and expectations for certain levels of pattern recognition or memorization. Graduate level critical thinking skills (your label of concern?) would involve possibly understanding the intersectionality of systematic racism, the evolution of case law, and their effects on current law of a municipality continuing to have a negative effect on a population.

Blooms taxonomy of higher order thinking may be helpful for your dislike of the leveling terms I used in my previous statement, graduate or grade school. There are seven necessary levels to higher order thinking and learning; remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, evaluating, and creating. Taken together, they are the manifest critical thinking skills, which if practiced and improved in ones mind, will lead to higher and higher levels of complex critical thinking. This could be applied maybe in assessing the gestalt (holistic) cognitive critical thinking skill level of an individual by maybe assessing the complexity of their created art, astrophysics, empathetic engagement, cognitive theory, or political stewardship. This may remedy your concern for a more commonly understood way of labeling critical thinking achievement.

I would not developmentally judge a grade school student negatively for not understanding the complex idea ‘intersectionality’. Their critical thinking skills would be expected to be within a grade school developmental range. However, if an adult such as Laure Boebert appears to function (learn, understand, apply, analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and create) at a critical thinking range commonly found in children, how would you like that to be labeled or scored?

Good catch I am the worst at proof reading / spelling.

No, I mean the research around testing shows many flaws. If scholasticism is so great why is it largely based on tests it knows to be flawed?

I am also neurodivergent horrorsultd. I do not think like others and I ussually (feels like always) have to work hard to explain my thoughts.

I am obsessed with psychology and theory and can get quite in the weeds and talk for hours about it. This makes me think (abductively and inductively) that I may be able to bring some alternate and inclusive perspectives to making testing more universal than WEIRD (White, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic). WEIRD is a critique of most psychological research being biased (potentially lacking external validity) for generalizing to the entire population.

But, by using and applying the scientific method, and maybe with some neurodivergence, we can pull psychological testing and theory into universality and inclusion.

This would naturally occur with the correct frame of understanding. The current meta in science is the fixation on securitizing validity. This will cause the community to select for ideas that will draw less scrutiny. Conversely those ideas that have tenuous validity may spark imagination of others, and thus promoting a virtuous cycle in the community. The ideal is to understand the balance between the two instead of fixation on one, or the other.

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So, do not be beholden to the group think and be in close enough proximity to the group to influence their ideas.

“If They Don’t Give You a Seat at the Table, Bring in a Folding Chair.” Shirley Chisholm

TYT educated and approved.

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