Pressler, Shirley J. and Williamson, J. (2002) Knowledge re-structuring during problem solving by analogy amongst 10 to 11-year-old children. Proceedings of the British psychological society, 10 (1). pp. 23-24. ISSN 1350-472X

The primary objective of the work presented was to investigate whether or not 10 – 11 year old children would show solution and causal reasoning transfer from a base to target analogy problem. It was predicted that more sophisticated solutions and/or causal reasoning explanations would be given to a target (difficult) problem when preceded by an analogous base (easy) counterpart than when responded to alone. Overall, a mixed design was used whereby two-hundred and two 10-11 year old children either participated in the initial or main stage of the study, but one of the main stage groups involved a repeated measures design. The initial stage of the study established that ‘easy’ (n=29) and ‘difficult’ (n=29) problems, named “Battleship” and “Growth” problem respectively, were disparate in terms of solutions and causal reasoning responses. During the main stage of the study one group of children (n=120; consisting of sub-groups n=57; n=30; n=33) responded to the ‘difficult’ problem preceded by the analogous ‘easy’ counterpart with solution and another group of children (n=24) to the ‘difficult’ problem preceded by the analogous ‘easy’ counterpart without solution. All responses to problems were written in ready prepared booklets and coded in keeping with the existing literature. Analyses revealed that causal reasoning explanations but not solutions were transferred from ‘easy’ to ‘difficult’ problem, regardless of whether or not a solution was provided to ‘easy’ problem preceding ‘difficult’ problem. It was concluded that evidence of re-structuring occurred, supporting knowledge based accounts of analogy development, with implications for similarity reasoning during the course of knowledge acquisition.

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