What is Special about Children's Deontic Reasoning?

Abstract

The assumption underlying the present investigation is that comprehension and reasoning from deontic premises, as well as comprehension and reasoning from factual premises, depend on mental models, and these models predict what conclusions individuals are likely to draw. Experiment 1 (48 children aged 9-11 years) confirmed the prediction that children’s comprehension of deontic assertions, like their comprehension of factual assertions, relies on models. Experiment 2 (40 children aged 9-11 years) confirmed the prediction that on the basis of the models it is possible to predict developmental changes in the ability to reason from pairs of deontic assertions. The results of the investigation run against the existence of specialized mechanisms for comprehension and reasoning from deontic matters.


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