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Tibor Vidákovich : The Development of Experiential reasoning from preschool to upper secondary Education

A frequent type of deductive reasoning, experiential reasoning is the use of linguistic forms of syllogisms with common contents and in everyday contexts. Although deductive reasoning research has produced several models and informed several experiments concerning syllogistic reasoning, there have been only few large-scale assessments undertaken in this field. The paper synthesises the results of two empirical studies that focused on the development of experiential reasoning and on the effects of structural and content characteristics. For the assessment of experiential reasoning, two parallel tests were developed. The tasks covered the most important deductive scheme types of propositional and predicate logic. Each task contained one or two premises, and, as a conclusion, an open-ended statement to be completed by the subjects. The first study included samples of preschoolers, 1st, and 3rd graders. In these groups, the tests were administered orally. The second study included 5th, 7th, and 9th graders. In these groups, paper-and-pencil versions of the tests were used. The achievements on the experiential reasoning tests showed intensive improvement from preschool to the 3rd grade, and much slower development between grades 5 and 9. Tendencies of development were similar for most deductive schemes. However, achievements were higher on the tasks of propositional, and poorer on the tasks of predicate logic. The differences grew smaller in the higher grades, except for the tasks with relatively difficult wording. The results on the latter tasks were lower in the higher age groups as well. The analysis of structure and content effects showed that tasks with similar structures followed similar tendencies of development, signalling the effect of task structure. However, there were some interesting exceptions in each scheme type. Subjects seemed to draw conclusions that were incomplete or even incorrect in a logical sense, if they had prior knowledge or beliefs about the situation at hand. This may be interpreted as the effect of familiar content. These irregular conclusions were frequent among preschoolers, but they became rarer in the higher age groups. The findings can help planning developmental efforts that target experiential reasoning, and, in general, they can help curriculum planning and the development of instructional programs and materials.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 108. Number 3. 199-224. (2008)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Vidákovich Tibor, SZTE BTK Nevelés¬tu¬do¬má¬nyi Intézet, MTA-SZTE Képességkutató Csoport, H–6722 Szeged, Petőfi S. sgt. 30–34.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia