ERIC Number: ED215773
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar-26
Reference Count: 0
The Effect of Object and Age on Children's Judgment and Reasoning About "Aliveness".
Gibbs, Sandra E.; And Others
The purposes of this study were twofold: (1) to investigate the effect of movement for several inanimate objects on children's judgments of "aliveness;" and (2) to examine the nature of explanations given by three age groups of children in support of their judgments as to whether animate and inanimate objects were "alive" or "not alive." Inanimate objects were presented in both non-moving and moving states. Fifty-seven boys and girls (17 five-year-olds, 20 six- and seven-year-olds, and 20 eight- and nine-year-olds) were interviewed. The reasons or explanations children provided in support of their judgments were coded into five categories based on Piaget's stages of animistic thought: general movement, spontaneous movement, biological reasoning, vocalization, and miscellaneous. Results demonstrated that movement of inanimate objects increased animistic responding for all children. When inanimate objects were judged to be "alive," children provided explanations based on "general movement," while "biological" and "miscellaneous" categories of explanation were most frequently cited when objects were judged to be "not alive." The objects that possessed a motor elicited the highest frequency of animistic responses. "Alive" judgments for all objects decreased from the five- to six- to seven-year-olds, with no further decrease evident in the eight- to nine-year-olds. (Author/MP)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Animism; Explanations; Judgmental Processes; Object Concept; Piagetian Theory
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association (New Orleans, LA, March 24-27, 1982).