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ERIC Number: EJ1051400
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-May
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 31
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Preschoolers Can Infer General Rules Governing Fantastical Events in Fiction
Van de Vondervoort, Julia W.; Friedman, Ori
Developmental Psychology, v50 n5 p1594-1599 May 2014
Young children are frequently exposed to fantastic fiction. How do they make sense of the unrealistic and impossible events that occur in such fiction? Although children could view such events as isolated episodes, the present experiments suggest that children use such events to infer general fantasy rules. In 2 experiments, 2-to 4-year-olds were shown scenarios in which 2 animals behaved unrealistically (N = 78 in Experiment 1, N = 94 in Experiment 2). When asked to predict how other animals in the fiction would behave, children predicted novel behaviors consistent with the nature of the fiction. These findings suggest that preschoolers can infer the general rules that govern the events and entities in fantastic fiction and can use these rules to predict what events will happen in the fiction. The findings also provide evidence that children may infer fantasy rules at a more superordinate level than the basic level.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada