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Using analogy to improve abstract conditional reasoning in adolescents: not as easy as it looks

Henry Markovits and Celine Doyon
European Journal of Psychology of Education
Vol. 26, No. 3 (September 2011), pp. 355-372
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23883589
Page Count: 18
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Using analogy to improve abstract conditional reasoning in adolescents: not as easy as it looks
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Abstract

Abstract reasoning refers to the ability to reason logically with premises that do not allow reference to knowledge about the real world. This form of reasoning is complex and difficult, and at the same time, it is critical for understanding science and mathematics. Two studies examined the use of analogy as a method to bridge reasoning with familiar content and abstract reasoning among older adolescents. The results showed that the ability to make an appropriate analogy depends on reasoning ability. Neither of the two procedures used resulted in an improvement in abstract reasoning. However, generating an inappropriate analogy actually decreased abstract reasoning performance among students who showed greater initial levels of reasoning ability. These results highlight the problems associated with using familiar reasoning as a basis for learning abstract reasoning skills.

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