ERIC Number: EJ1062152
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 50
Development of Afterlife Beliefs in Childhood: Relationship to Parent Beliefs and Testimony
Misailidi, Plousia; Kornilaki, Ekaterina N.
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Journal of Developmental Psychology, v61 n2 Article 4 p290-318 Apr 2015
This study examined the development of children's reasoning about the afterlife and its relationship with parental afterlife beliefs and testimony. A total of 123 children aged 5, 7, and 10 years were read a story describing the events that led to a person's death. After hearing the story, children were asked questions about the dead agent's biological, perceptual, epistemic-volitional, and emotional states and about the agent's capacity to engage in conscious mental activity. Parents completed a scale assessing the strength of their afterlife beliefs and a questionnaire examining aspects of parental discourse with children about death and the deceased. The results showed that, with age, children become more accurate at predicting the cessation of biological functions, perceptual states, and mental activity. However, children at all ages were reluctant to claim the cessation of epistemic-volitional and emotional states. Parents' afterlife beliefs and discourse about death and the afterlife were not related to children's afterlife responses. Our findings converge with the view that children's afterlife reasoning is grounded on cognitive mechanisms and may be less amenable to sociocultural input.
Descriptors: Religion, Religious Factors, Logical Thinking, Parents, Beliefs, Children, Story Reading, Death, Biology, Perception, Emotional Response, Cognitive Ability, Questionnaires, Parent Attitudes, Age Differences, Comprehension, Human Body, Correlation, Social Influences, Cultural Influences, Theory of Mind, Elementary School Students, Preschool Children, Christianity, Foreign Countries, Physiology, Coding, Likert Scales, Statistical Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Greece