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Self-Explanation, Feedback and the Development of Analogical Reasoning Skills: Microgenetic Evidence for a Metacognitive Processing Account.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter


Publication date2005
Host publicationProceedings of the Twenty-Seventh Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
EditorsB. G. Bara, L. Barsalou, M. Bu
Place of publicationAlpha, New Jersey
PublisherSheridan Printing
<mark>Original language</mark>English


It is generally accepted that providing explanations during a task can facilitate problem solving performance in both adults and children. This paper aims to answer two important questions. First, can current theories of explanation be generalised to children’s explanations of self-generated answers? Second, what is the impact of such self-explanation on the development of children’s analogical reasoning skills? One-hundred-and-ten six- and seven-year-old children took part in seven sessions of matrix completion trials in one of five conditions: (1) explanation plus feedback; (2) explanation only; (3) feedback only; (4) practice; and (5) control. Analysis revealed that, contrary to existing theory, explanation of selfgenerated answers is not the most effective way to encourage the development of analogical reasoning. Rather, feedback on response accuracy is necessary for the attainment of heightened levels of performance. Results also indicate that children shift from using surface-level perceptual cues as a basis for their responses to a more sophisticated strategy involving an understanding of deeper-level relational structures. It is argued that these results support a metacognitive processing account of the development of analogical reasoning skills rather than an account emphasising changes in mental representations.