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The Development of Thinking and Reasoning by Caroline Gauffroy, Pierre Barrouillet

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5The development of abstract conditional reasoning

Henry Markovits

Conditional (if-then) reasoning is one of the most critical components of advanced reasoning. Within the Piagetian framework, such reasoning is one manifestation of formal operations (Inhelder, 1958). In theory, formal operational processes are independent of empirical knowledge. Reasoning with abstract premises is thus the purest form of formal conditional reasoning. However, many studies have shown large effects of content on conditional reasoning with concrete premises. Even though abstract reasoning is impervious to interference from empirical knowledge, very few university students can reason logically with abstract conditional problems. This makes understanding the development ...

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