The psychology of far transfer from classroom argumentation

E. M. Nussbaum, C. S. C. Asterhan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Certain classroom programs that engage students in argumentive discourse over an extended period of time have been shown to result in far transfer effects in other disciplines.nbsp; For example, argumentation-rich teaching in science classes or mathematics has resulted in higher student achievement in English Language Arts. In this chapter, we review previous explanations for these effects rooted in theories of development, argumentation schema, ACT-R theory, motivation, and situativity.nbsp; We then extend these accounts by proposing that in these programs, students discover and practice textquotedblleftproactive executive control strategies.textquotedblrightnbsp; These strategies involve intentionally activating or inhibiting a certain cognitive process, such as protection from interference.nbsp; The acquisition and strengthening of these strategies has been used to explain far transfer effects from working memory training to tests of fluid intelligence, based on a cognitive architecture proposed by Taatgen (2013).nbsp; We propose that similar processes may be at work in argumentive learning environments.nbsp; For example, when one is considering someone else’s counterargument, one has to protect the mind from interference by one’s own argument, and then switch attention back to one’s argument to advocate or evaluate it.nbsp; Our account is consistent with those explaining far transfer effects from the generation of general production rules (Koedinger amp; Stampfer, 2015) as well as the acquisition of conceptual agency through participation in conversations that matter (Greeno, 2006).nbsp; Our theory also has the advantage, however, of uniting various levels of cognitive analysis, from the micro to the more molar.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe psychology of argument
Subtitle of host publicationcognitive approaches to argumentation and persuasion
EditorsFabio Paglieri, Laura Bonelli, Silvia Felletti
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherCollege Publications
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9781848901957
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016

Publication series

NameStudies in logic
PublisherCollege Publications


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