What people do when solving the selection task ? Empirical findings and reflections on reasoning as a complex activity
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Deductive reasoning is extensively studied through different competing theories. Within a constructivist approach, reasoning competence is conceptualised as something that is naturally bounded and experientially constructed. The present paper aims at illustrating some issues connected to the complexity of reasoning. An experiment has been designed through an adapted version of the selection task. Along with observations realized in previous experiments, we present response patterns and written post hoc justifications produced by 137 participants (primary pre-service teachers). Quantitative and qualitative analyses showed some challenges to a model of reasoning activity: (a) there is a wide range of interpretations of the task leading participants to solve different problems; (b) when prompted, participants explain the way they refer to the given context to infer some expectations and to regulate their own interpretations and decisions by a reflective effort; (c) participants develop several problems while trying to solve the task. Inspired by current dual-process theories of reasoning, the results are discussed as ways to reflect on conceptualization of reasoning as a dynamic activity in social and material contexts, implying cycles of problematization and resolution. We finally propose to consider reasoning as an activity connecting cognitive and social skills to cultural tools.
, Jean Piaget Annual Conference, Amsterdam
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