Reasoning about Density: The Influence of Two Processes.Report as inadecuate

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This paper presents three experiments examining competence in the domain of proportional reasoning in several age groups (adult, and children in kindergarten, first, third, and fifth grade). In the three experiments, subjects indicated which of two flower boxes had the greater density of flowers. In experiments 1 and 2, the flowers were presented inside the flower boxes. In experiment 3, the flowers were presented as uniform rows of dots outside the flower boxes. In experiments 1 and 2, all subjects performed well, using density rather than number or area to make decisions. In experiment 3, however, only the older children performed well. Younger children based their judgments on the dimensions of number, revealing that when an explicit integration is required to be correct, younger children perform poorly. These results provide initial support for a two-process model for dealing with proportionality. (MM)

Descriptors: Adults, Age Differences, Cognitive Ability, Cognitive Development, Elementary Education, Elementary School Students, Thinking Skills, Visual Perception

Author: Singer, Janice


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