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Dynamic Testing & Learning potential
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Prof.dr.Wilma C.M. Resing
Unit Developmental and Educational Psychology
Institute of Psychology. Leiden University

The domain: inductive reasoning

Tasks in which inductive reasoning play a role include:

  • Seriation;
  • Classifica­tion;
  • Exclusion;
  • Matrices;
  • Analogies;
  • Spelling and other applications using analogies; 
  • Language development also comprises several forms of inductive reasoning.

Tasks requiring inductive reasoning can be solved by detecting similarities, differences, or both between characteristics of the task, or by discovering relations between a task’s characteristics. A child could, for instance, count the number of green and red cubes of a task, but could also look at the changes  in the cubes’ sizes. The processes of comparison include both cognitive and metacognitive components: a child has to look over all characteristics of a task, spot the similarities, differences and relations, and needs to take these all into account when “deciding” on how to solve a task. A child has to reflect on whether he or she has solved a similar task before, and determine the order in which the task can be solved, as well as check whether the given solution is correct. In all tasks the inductive process is the umbrella process: on the basis of a limited quantity of information, a child has to come to a solution of the task by him or herself.

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