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On the Development of Reasoning in Preschool Children
Zaporozhets A.V., Developmental psychologist, a student of Lev Vygotsky and Alexei Leontiev., Russia
The article describes the results of the experiment aimed at studying the role of practical activity in the process of reasoning development in preschool children. Two types of propositions were studied in 3—7-year-old children: propositions-predictions and propositions-statements. A series of objects was demonstrated to a child who had to guess whether these objects would sink or float; his/her guesses could then be immediately checked. Unlike J. Piaget, who considered children's thinking impervious to experience, the authors come to the conclusion that a distinct relation between proposition occurs even in a 3-year-old child: being under the influence of several analogical facts, the child expects that all subsequent facts would happen in the same way. Children aged 5—7 already try to coordinate their propositions and to find reasons for them in their practical activity, and these efforts are based on a shift in the child's activity, that is, on the child's new ability to distinguish between his/her action and the object at which it is directed.
Keywords: proposition-prediction, proposition-statement, floatation of objects, generalization, object-oriented actions, conclusion