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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Joe Elliott

Resing, W.C.M., Bakker, M., Pronk, C.M.E. & Elliott, J.G. (2017). Progression paths in children’s problem solving: The influence of dynamic testing, initial variability, and working memory. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 153: 83-109.

Author(s) from Durham


The current study investigated developmental trajectories of analogical reasoning performance of 104 7- and 8-year-old children. We employed a microgenetic research method and multilevel analysis to examine the influence of several background variables and experimental treatment on the children’s developmental trajectories. Our participants were divided into two treatment groups: repeated practice alone and repeated practice with training. Each child received an initial working memory assessment and was subsequently asked to solve figural analogies on each of several sessions. We examined children’s analogical problem-solving behavior and their subsequent verbal accounts of their employed solving processes. We also investigated the influence of verbal and visual–spatial working memory capacity and initial variability in strategy use on analogical reasoning development. Results indicated that children in both treatment groups improved but that gains were greater for those who had received training. Training also reduced the influence of children’s initial variability in the use of analogical strategies with the degree of improvement in reasoning largely unrelated to working memory capacity. Findings from this study demonstrate the value of a microgenetic research method and the use of multilevel analysis to examine inter- and intra-individual change in problem-solving processes.