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ERIC Number: EJ799250
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jun
Pages: 36
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 48
ISSN: ISSN-0364-0213
Bewitchment, Biology, or Both: The Co-Existence of Natural and Supernatural Explanatory Frameworks across Development
Legare, Cristine H.; Gelman, Susan A.
Cognitive Science, v32 n4 p607-642 Jun 2008
Three studies examined the co-existence of natural and supernatural explanations for illness and disease transmission, from a developmental perspective. The participants (5-, 7-, 11-, and 15-year-olds and adults; N = 366) were drawn from 2 Sesotho-speaking South African communities, where Western biomedical and traditional healing frameworks were both available. Results indicated that, although biological explanations for illness were endorsed at high levels, witchcraft was also often endorsed. More important, bewitchment explanations were neither the result of ignorance nor replaced by biological explanations. Instead, both natural and supernatural explanations were used to explain the same phenomena, and bewitchment explanations were highest among adults. Taken together, these data provide insight into how diverse, culturally constructed belief systems about illness co-exist across development. (Contains 5 tables and 4 figures.)
Lawrence Erlbaum. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa