Young children's analogical reasoning across cultures: similarities and differences

J Exp Child Psychol. 2010 Jan-Feb;105(1-2):146-53. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2009.08.003. Epub 2009 Nov 6.


A cross-cultural comparison between U.S. and Hong Kong preschoolers examined factors responsible for young children's analogical reasoning errors. On a scene analogy task, both groups had adequate prerequisite knowledge of the key relations, were the same age, and showed similar baseline performance, yet Chinese children outperformed U.S. children on more relationally complex problems. Children from both groups were highly susceptible to choosing a perceptual or semantic distractor during reasoning when one was present. Taken together, these similarities and differences suggest that (a) cultural differences can facilitate better knowledge representations by allowing more efficient processing of relationally complex problems and (b) inhibitory control is an important factor in explaining the development of children's analogical reasoning.

MeSH terms

  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Concept Formation
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Culture
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Memory
  • Problem Solving*
  • Psychology, Child
  • United States