Classificatory Reasoning in Children: Is It a Knowledge-Based Competence? A Review of Empirical Studies
Y. Ni
This article, by reviewing empirical studies that pertinent to the issue addressed here, examines the claim that classificatory reasoning in children is a knowledge-based competence. It draws upon Piaget's analysis of two levels of classificatory reasoning, classification based on membership and on inclusion, to show that this claim is not warranted from the evidence on which this claim is based. In particular, the evidence does not appeal to the core of the competence-understanding the deductive necessity of class inclusion relations. The present analysis suggests that classificatory reasoning seems to undergo developmental changes that involve both structural-general and content-specific components, and the content-specific components are not equivalent to the structural-general components in the cognitive competence.

Key words: classification, developmental change, expert-novice differences