The Impact of Statistical Training on Children's Inductive Reasoning

Susan StanleyUniversity of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Chris LawsonUniversity of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Abstract

Regardless of age there are mixed findings concerning the extent to which individuals utilize statistical features of input to make inductive inferences. Direct instruction seems to be one important factor in linking one’s understanding of statistical properties with their reasoning. In the present study we examined the extent to which explicit training on some statistical principles would influence preschoolers’ inductive reasoning. The results indicate that a short training about random selection and the match between samples and populations increased children’s use of these principles to make inductive generalizations. Critically, the training effects were observed in a different domain than was presented in the training and for statistical principles not presented in the training. Thus, the present results suggest that the training had a broad impact on children’s reasoning. These results have important implications for understanding the nature of the statistical principles employed during induction.

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