Farrington-Flint, Lee; Canobi, Katherine. H.; Wood, Clare and Faulkner, Dorothy
The role of relational reasoning in children's addition concepts.
British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 25(2),
The study addresses the relational reasoning of different-aged children and how addition reasoning is related to problem-solving skills within addition and to reasoning skills outside addition. Ninety-two 5- to 8-year-olds were asked to solve a series of conceptually related and unrelated addition problems, and the speed and accuracy of all self-reported strategies were used to monitor their addition performance. Children were also given a series of general relational reasoning tasks to assess their ability to solve problems based on thematic, causal and visual relations. The results revealed that, while children were able to reason about commutativity relations, recognition of relations based on additive composition was rare. Furthermore, children's ability to reason about addition concepts increased with age and problem-solving proficiency. Reasoning about addition concepts was related to performance on the thematic, causal and visual reasoning tasks for older children but not for younger children. Overall, the findings suggest that while children's early knowledge of addition relations is domain specific, as children develop in their broader reasoning abilities these developments enhance their addition reasoning.
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