We begin preconscious reasoning as soon as we are born (see simulation theory). Initial reasoning is based on emotional-social interactions with those around us. Newborns reason in non-verbal, direct ways. Parental attunement and interaction is vital for the development of optimal non-verbal reasoning.
Around the age of 18 months, a Theory of Mind (TOM) emerges—the capacity to recognize that other people are self-aware agents separate from oneself, with their own feelings, experiences, and sense of reality. TOM enables mentalizing and is a basis for later cognitive reasoning
Children are natural dualists, essentialists, and vitalists
The ways children anthropomorphize and attribute intent and agency to objects and people influences tendencies toward long-term false belief, magical thinking and folk science.
Children learn by over-imitation which can lead to trust in authority and emotional investment in custom and ritual.
Early wiring of relational and non-verbal reasoning is as essential to later critical thinking as verbal and logical capacities. These skills are initially honed through social interactions, unstructured play, story-telling, daydreaming and mind-wandering in default network mode.