David Sobel
Syracuse University
Two facets of diagnostic reasoning related to scientific thinking are recognizing the difference between confounded and unconfounded evidence and selecting appropriate interventions that could provide learners the evidence necessary to make an appropriate causal conclusion. The present study investigates both these abilities in 3- to 6-year-old children. We found both competence and developmental progress in the capacity to recognize that evidence is confounded. Similarly, children performed above chance in some tasks testing for the selection of a controlled test of a hypothesis. However, these capacities were unrelated, suggesting that preschoolers’ nascent understanding of the control-of-variables strategy may not be driven by a metacognitive understanding that confounded evidence does not support a unique causal conclusion, and requires further investigation.
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DOI 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.800226
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