ERIC Number: EJ1049926
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Aug
Abstractor: As Provided
Children's Competence or Adults' Incompetence: Different Developmental Trajectories in Different Tasks
Furlan, Sarah; Agnoli, Franca; Reyna, Valerie F.
Developmental Psychology, v49 n8 p1466-1480 Aug 2013
Dual-process theories have been proposed to explain normative and heuristic responses to reasoning and decision-making problems. Standard unitary and dual-process theories predict that normative responses should increase with age. However, research has focused recently on exceptions to this standard pattern, including developmental increases in heuristic or intuitive responses. Developmental trends for normative and heuristic responses were investigated for 2 kinds of causal reasoning (if-only and covariation) problems in 2 experiments. To investigate the role of superstitious thinking in these developmental trends, in both experiments a superstitious element was added to the problem solved by half the participants. In the first experiment, 90 fifth graders, 99 seventh graders, and 153 adults responded to an if-only problem. Children performed better than adults, with normative responses decreasing and heuristic responses increasing with age. A superstitious jinx intended to reduce heuristic responses had little effect for all age groups. In the second experiment, 276 fifth graders, 344 seventh graders, and 90 adults responded to a covariation-detection problem. When win--loss ratios were equal, adults performed better than children, with normative responses increasing and heuristic responses decreasing with age. When win--loss ratios were strikingly different, however, even the youngest children were able to solve the problems correctly; participants of all ages responded about equally well. When the normative response required recognizing that a good-luck ritual led to better team performance, participants in all age groups responded skeptically that the ritual had no effect, illustrating belief bias. These results are discussed in terms of dual-process theories and the development of heuristic (or intuitive) and analytical processes.
Descriptors: Cognitive Development, Misconceptions, Cognitive Style, Logical Thinking, Executive Function, Heuristics, Experiments, Grade 5, Grade 7, Adults, Age Differences, Problem Solving, Developmental Psychology, Child Development, Psychological Studies, Theories, Foreign Countries
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 5; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools; Elementary Education; Grade 7; Junior High Schools; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Italy
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A