Causal framing supports young children’s analogical reasoning

Colloquium | February 6 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 3105 Tolman Hall

 Mariel Goddu, Department of Psychology

 Department of Psychology

​My recent work challenges some previous assumptions about young children’s analogical reasoning abilities. Although much of the literature suggests that three- and four-year-olds are poor at reasoning about abstract relations, here I report results from 4 studies demonstrating that context may be critical. When children are presented with relational reasoning tasks in a traditional, non-causal format, they fail; however, when they encounter the same information in a causal format—where relations are operationalized as the starting and ending states of a causal transformation—they succeed. These findings provide insight into how relational reasoning may develop in children’s everyday experience, where explicit cues such as labeling and multiple exemplars may be sparse.

 lisabranum@berkeley.edu, 510-642-7239