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A process theory of inductive reasoning tested by the teaching of domain-specific thinking strategies

  • Karl Josef Klauer
Article

Abstract

Inductive reasoning can be conceived as the process of discovering regularities by finding out identity and difference with respect to attributes of and relations between objects. This assumption gives rise to the definition of a set of inductive tasks consisting of six subsets, all of which can be solved by variants of a basic strategy. Such a theory can be tested by teaching subjects the strategy, i.e. by training experiments: Inducing the postulated processes should lead to predictable improvements in certain tasks and to no improvements in other tasks. The article provides an account of the main results of about 30 experiments. The theory seems to be sound and the training approach proved to be a powerful research method: A great number of differential effects, partly considerable in amount, have been predicted and empirically tested, most of them even by several replications. Transfer effect of an inductive thinking training on intelligence test performance is about twice as great as an average test coaching effect.

Key words

Inductive reasoning Training studies Higher-order thinking processes Intelligence 

Une théorie du raisonnement inductif mise à l’épreuve par l’instruction de stratégies specifiques à un domaine

Résumé

Le raisonnement inductif peut être défini comme un processus de découverte des régularités en recherchant des similitudes et des différences entre attributs ou relations. Cette conception est à l’origine de la définition de six sous-ensembles de tâche pouvant toutes être résolues par une variante de la stratégie d’induction de base. La conception a été mise à l’épreuve en enseignant cette stratégie: l’induction des processus postulés devant conduire à des améliorations ou à l’absence d’améliorations prévisibles. L’article présente un aperçu des principaux résultats d’une trentaine d’expériences. La théorie semble solide et l’approche consistant à utiliser l’enseignement s’est révélée heuristique: Un grand nombre de différences quantitativement importantes à été prévu et testé empiriquement, certaines à plusieurs reprises. L’effet de notre entraînement au raisonnement inductif sur la performance obtenue à un test d’intelligence est à peut prés deux fois plus efficace qu’une préparation ordinaire. Les implications d’ordre théorique, méthodologique et pédagogique sont discutées brièvement.

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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karl Josef Klauer
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of AachenFederal Republic of Germany
  2. 2.Lehrstuhl für ErziehungswissenschaftRheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule AachenAachen

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