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Thinking about the unknown

By Paul L. Harris


A long tradition of research suggests that children and adults with no formal education are prone to reason only on the basis of their first-hand experience, and do not encode and reason from novel generalizations supplied by other people. However, recent research reveals that when given simple prompts, even pre-school children can reason from adults’ unfamiliar claims. A radical implication of these findings is that young children arrive at school with a pre-existing capacity for thinking and reasoning about the unknown. The assumption that early learning should be rooted in children's own empirical experience could be mistaken

Topics: C800 Psychology, C850 Cognitive Psychology, C820 Developmental Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier Science
Year: 2001
DOI identifier: 10.1016/S1364-6613(00)01789-7
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