Thinking and Reasoning 13 (2):90 – 104 (2007)

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What does it take to argue well? The goal of this series of studies was to better understand the cognitive skills entailed in argument, and their course of development, isolated from the verbal and social demands that argumentive discourse also entails. Findings indicated that young adolescents are less able than adults to coordinate attention to both positions in an argument, an age-related pattern that parallels one found in discourse. Contributing to this weakness was inattention to the opposing position (in both constrained and unconstrained formats), but not ability to address the opposing position when explicitly asked to do so. In addition to implementing the necessary dual focus, results point to the importance of developing epistemological understanding of the relevance of the opposing position to argument, as well as of the goals of argument more generally. The results also reflect the close parallels between dialogic and non-dialogic argument.
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DOI 10.1080/13546780600625447
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