What is it about?

Logical reasoning skills (intelligence) develop a lot during childhood. The exact reasons why older children are better at solving logical problems is not well understood; it would not be very satisfying to say that older children are just "more clever". This research shows that the improvement of logical reasoning over development is very strongly related to an increase in the use of better strategies to solve the problem. In other words, the difference between younger and older children is not just quantitative, but also qualitative: more advanced children have a quantitatively higher reasoning performance, but they also reason differently - and more effectively.

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Why is it important?

Differences between people in terms of reasoning performance are not often considered from the perspective of strategies, but strategies are very important for multiple reasons: 1/ you don't really understand how a complex task (such as logical reasoning and problem solving) works, until you understand how people go about solving it. 2/ showing that differences are also a matter of strategies is a way to show that human problem solving is a very complex activity, and one which cannot just be summarized as "less intelligent" and "more intelligent". 3/ contrary to quantitative differences in intelligence, you can actually act to support better strategy use. This could be a possible way to scaffold cognitive development in children, and ultimately help people who struggle with complex problem solving.

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This page is a summary of: Development of reasoning performance in Raven’s matrices is grounded in the development of effective strategy use., Journal of Experimental Psychology General, December 2023, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/xge0001518.
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