Using Property Induction to Evaluate Understanding of Mixing

Abstract

Although reasoning skills have been investigated in a number of different domains, very little is known about how children and adults use them in chemistry. Here, participants from 4 years to adults saw various mixtures presented using a standard property induction paradigm. The category and appearance of everyday materials were varied to assess the extent that participants use these features to inform their judgments about what happens when these materials are mixed with water. In general, the results followed similar patterns seen when this paradigm has been applied to other domains, with both category and appearance informing inductive generalizations. The findings contrast with interview-based measures of children’s understanding of chemistry and offer an important addition to the field.


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