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Abstract

The research reported in this article was undertaken to obtain a better understanding of problem solving and scientific reasoning in 10-year-old children. The study involved measuring children's competence at syllogistic reasoning and in solving a series of problems requiring inductive reasoning. Children were also categorized on the basis of levels of simultaneous and successive synthesis. Simultaneous and successive synthesis represent two dimensions of information processing identified by Luria in a program of neuropsychological research. Simultaneous synthesis involves integration of information in a holistic or spatial fashion, whereas successive synthesis involves processing information sequentially with temporal links between stimuli. Analysis of the data generated in the study indicated that syllogistic reasoning and inductive reasoning were significantly correlated with both simultaneous and successive synthesis. However, the strongest correlation was found between simultaneous synthesis and inductive reasoning. These findings provide a basis for understanding the roles of spatial and verbal-logical ability as defined by Luria's neuropsychological theory in scientific problem solving. The results also highlight the need for teachers to provide experiences which are compatible with individual students' information processing styles.