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ERIC Number: EJ872529
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 28
ISSN: ISSN-0009-3920
Counterfactual Reasoning: Developing a Sense of "Nearest Possible World"
Rafetseder, Eva; Cristi-Vargas, Renate; Perner, Josef
Child Development, v81 n1 p376-389 Jan-Feb 2010
This study investigated at what point in development 3- to 6-year-old children begin to demonstrate counterfactual reasoning by controlling for fortuitously correct answers that result from basic conditional reasoning. "Basic conditional reasoning" occurs when one applies typical regularities (such as "If 'whenever' it doesn't rain the street is dry") to counterfactual questions (such as "If it had not rained, would the street be wet or dry?") without regard to actual events (e.g., if street cleaners had just been washing the street). In "counterfactual reasoning", however, the conditional reasoning must be constrained by actual events (according to the "nearest possible world"). In situations when counterfactual reasoning and basic conditional reasoning would yield the same answers, even the youngest children gave mostly correct answers. However, tasks in which the 2 reasoning strategies resulted in different answers proved unusually difficult even for the older children. (Contains 2 tables and 3 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A