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Diversity based reasoning in children

Heit, Evan and Hahn, Ulrike 2001. Diversity based reasoning in children. Cognitive Psychology 43 (4) , pp. 243-273. 10.1006/cogp.2001.0757

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One of the hallmarks of inductive reasoning by adults is the diversity effect, namely that people draw stronger inferences from a diverse set of evidence than from a more homogenous set of evidence. However, past developmental work has not found consistent diversity effects with children age 9 and younger. We report robust sensitivity to diversity in children as young as 5, using everyday stimuli such as pictures of objects with people. Experiment 1 showed the basic diversity effect in 5- to 9-year-olds. Experiment 2 showed that, like adults, children restrict their use of diversity information when making inferences about remote categories. Experiment 3 used other stimulus sets to overcome an alternate explanation in terms of sample size rather than diversity effects. Finally, Experiment 4 showed that children more readily draw on diversity when reasoning about objects and their relations with people than when reasoning about objects' internal, hidden properties, thus partially explaining the negative findings of previous work. Relations to cross-cultural work and models of induction are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: inductive reasoning; children; diversity; evidence
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0010-0285
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 22:06

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