The Beginnings of Deductive Reasoning Abilities in Infants
There is wide disagreement over when children begin to show deductive reasoning skills that adults use daily. Preschoolers have previously demonstrated deductive reasoning skills (Dias & Harris, 1988, 1990; Hawkins, Pea, Glick, & Scribner, 1984; Richards & Sanderson, 1999) through verbally presented hypothetical syllogisms. The present study employed a habituation paradigm with 18-, 22-, and 26-month-olds. Infants were presented visual stimuli with external parts and dynamic motions to assess when they begin to deduce the relation among static and dynamic features. The findings of the research were minimized by sample size and effect magnitude. However, results revealed an effect of sex of the infant, with females but not males being able to deduce such relations. Since this is a new area of research, future research needs to replicate the current findings to determine what other manipulations can help facilitate the demonstration of deductive reasoning abilities in infancy.