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Koksal-Tuncer, Ozgun; Sodian, Beate (2018): The development of scientific reasoning: Hypothesis testing and argumentation from evidence in young childrenn. In: Cognitive Development, Vol. 48: pp. 135-145
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Abstract

This study investigates scientific reasoning abilities in 3- to 6-year-old children (N = 67) focusing on their understanding of the relation between causal hypotheses and evidence. Children's evidence generation behaviors and their evidence-based verbal arguments against false causal claims were examined in a blicket detector paradigm. Children were first led to generate and then to test a specific hypothesis about the cause of a light effect. Subsequently, children were presented with two false causal claims in order to elicit evidence-based verbal counterarguments and evidence generation behaviors. The large majority of the children (82%) adopted a systematic hypothesis testing strategy (positive or contrastive testing). Furthermore, 70% of the children provided disconfirming verbal counterarguments and/or selectively generated disconfirming evidence in response to a false claim at least once. In sum, the present study yielded new evidence for scientific reasoning abilities in early childhood.