A mental model analysis of young children's conditional reasoning with meaningful premises

Thinking and Reasoning 6 (4):335 – 347 (2000)
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Mental model theory has been used to explain many differing phenomena in adult reasoning, including the extensively studied case of conditional reasoning. However, the current theory makes predictions about the development of conditional reasoning that are not consistent with data. In this article, young children's performance on conditional reasoning problems and the justifications given are analysed. A mental model account of conditional reasoning is proposed that assumes that (1) young children can reason with two models and (2) the fleshing out of conditionals involves activation of information in semantic memory that uses the minor premise as a retrieval cue.



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